寄予厚望:伊朗新总统和核谈
寄予厚望:伊朗新总统和核谈
Table of Contents
  1. Overview

寄予厚望:伊朗新总统和核谈

  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Download PDF Full Report

概述

哈桑·鲁哈尼于8月4日宣誓就任伊朗总统,在这个最近坏消息不断的地区,他的就职带来了一线人们乐见的难得希望。目前这一局势带来的仍是问题多于答案:他掌有多少权力?作为长期与核项目有关的人物,他对于伊朗核计划是什么态度?西方社会有无能力展示必要的灵活性和耐心?然而,虽然预计双方都会表现出谨慎态度,但目前局势为将更远大目标摆上桌面提供了时机,应开辟美伊双边协商渠道以作为多边谈判的补充,并扩大谈判内容,把地区安全问题纳入其中。

鉴于鲁哈尼曾直言不讳地批评过伊朗的治国方向,尤其是核问题政策,他的当选让几乎所有的观察人士都大吃一惊,因此人们在回头解读他的胜利时应当持谦虚的态度。伊朗的选民常利用总统选举来寻求国家的变革,所以可能被鲁哈尼所作的改革承诺而打动;鲁哈尼的保守派竞争对手内部存在严重分歧,并且为前总统马哈茂德·艾哈迈迪-内贾德的政纲涣散所累;由于 2009年的选举饱含争议,领导层合法性受损,因此可能接受了一个强烈批评者的胜利以求重树合法性。有鉴于此,鲁哈尼的获胜最终可能于伊朗最高领袖阿里·哈梅内伊有利。选举是伊斯兰共和国的政治基石之一,鲁哈尼的胜利有助于双方修复国民对选举的信心;同时在伊朗因制裁而遭受前所未有的经济创痛时,鲁哈尼上台为减少国际社会的压力创造了机会。

然而,回顾过去并非关键,伊朗此后何去何从才是重点。包括以色列总理本雅明·内塔尼亚胡在内的一些人认为鲁哈尼是“披着羊皮的狼”。他们认为伊朗的核野心丝毫没有改变,鲁哈尼只不过是一个温和的假象;另一些人则认为他愿意在核项目上作出广泛的让步,以换取相应程度的制裁解除,并因此视他为拯救伊朗于困境的救世主。同样地,由于伊斯兰共和国在决策方面的不透明性,在讨论伊朗去向的问题时,谦恭态度是必不可少的。

尽管如此,在预测事态发展时,可以考虑以下几个要素。首先是必须考虑到伊朗政治的本质。总统远非全权在握,必须同无数相互较劲的权力和影响力集团进行公开和非公开的竞争,最高领袖只不过是最明显的一个竞争对手。政治的基本构架仍未改变:阿亚图拉·阿里·哈梅内伊仍然握有最终话语权;他和总统之间的摩擦几乎是无可避免的;派系之争仍将是无法改变的事实,也是限制鲁哈尼的方式之一。但这并不意味着总统仅是挂名的首脑;阿克巴尔・哈什米・拉夫桑贾尼、穆罕默德·哈塔米和艾哈迈迪-内贾德三者之间大相径庭的风格和政策就是证明。

其次,鲁哈尼并非无名之辈。自伊斯兰共和国成立以来,他就在这个政权牢牢占有一席之地,他是一个终极意义上的内部操手,他有业绩可循,有大量的著作可资考查。这些作品为他所倾向使用的方式提供了一些线索。他推动伊朗与西方签订了第一个也是唯一一个核协议,这在彼此极为不信任的情况下,是一个巨大的成就,但是,就在协议的谈判过程中,他也公开声称该协议允许伊朗完成核设施的建设。他直言不讳地批评他的继任者,但是主要针对的是他们的口出狂言和鲁莽的谈判风格,而不是他们最终的谈判目标。他的谈判经历也传递出混杂的信息:他感到西方辜负了他,使他在国内饱受批评,这可能会促使他采取更为谨慎的态度。尤其是在美国和欧洲意图限制伊朗铀浓缩项目规模的情况下,鲁哈尼可能会更倾向于在项目的透明性而不是规模上作出让步。

这使人联想到第三个要素。总统换人会迎来在执政风格和谈判策略方面的重大转变,但是显然不会改变伊朗的底线要求,那就是承认伊朗有进行铀浓缩的权利,并有意义地解除制裁。因此,比起上次还是由鲁哈尼在负责核问题的时代而言,如今要达成协议变得更难以想象。双方立场变得更加强硬;彼此之间越发不信任对方;核项目已大幅升级;制裁措施激增。西方世界质疑鲁哈尼履行承诺的能力,伊朗方面也同样怀疑西方尤其是美国能否接受伊斯兰共和国的阶段性妥协,或者质疑巴拉克·奥巴马总统是否有取消制裁措施的政治能力。

这些担心无可避免,但不能因此裹足不前。伊朗和P5 +1(联合国安理会5个常任理事国再加上德国)之间的谈判早已死气沉沉;目前是一个希望的时刻,也是一个为谈判重注活力的时刻。要实现这个目标,需要采取以下三个环环相扣的方式:根据危机组织的建议,改变潜在协议的内容,就伊朗20%的铀浓缩项目的信心建设协议进行谈判的同时,也展示终结核项目计划的大致轮廓;改进谈判形式,让美伊进行秘密的双边接触,以作为多边谈判的补充;扩大谈判涉及的内容,把地区安全问题也纳入其中。

由鲁哈尼的当选所带来的曙光可能会继续扩大,也可能很快熄灭。在就任总统开始面对无数来自国内外的挑战之际,西方国家鼓励他朝着正确的方向前进才是明智之举。

华盛顿/布鲁塞尔,2013年8月13日

I. Overview

In a region that recently has produced virtually nothing but bad news, Hassan Rouhani’s 4 August swearing in as Iran’s president offers a rare and welcome glimmer of hope. There are still far more questions than answers: about the extent of his authority; his views on his country’s nuclear program, with which he long has been associated; and the West’s ability to display requisite flexibility and patience. But, although both sides can be expected to show caution, now is the time to put more ambitious proposals on the table, complement the multilateral talks with a bilateral U.S.-Iranian channel and expand the dialogue to encompass regional security issues.

Given his blunt criticism of the country’s trajectory, notably on the nuclear file, Rouhani’s election stunned almost all observers, and so one ought to be modest in offering retrospective interpretations of his victory. His promise of change arguably appealed to an electorate that traditionally has seized on presidential contests to try to turn the page; his more conservative rivals were deeply divided and burdened with former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s desultory record; and the leadership’s quest for renewed legitimacy after the hit suffered in the controversial 2009 elections possibly led it to accept the triumph of a strong critic. Too, one could speculate that Rouhani’s success ultimately serves Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s interests, helping both to restore domestic faith in elections, one of the Islamic Republic’s political linchpins, and to reduce international pressure at a time when sanctions are inflicting unprecedented economic pain.

Questions about how Iran got to this place are overshadowed, however, by speculation regarding where it might go from here. Some, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, see Rouhani as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, the gentle façade of a regime whose nuclear ambitions have not changed one iota; others would like to view him as the saviour charged with extricating Iran from its predicament, agreeing to far-reaching nuclear concessions in exchange for commensurate sanctions relief. In this respect as well, a healthy dose of humility is required given the opaqueness of the Islamic Republic’s decision-making.

Several elements nonetheless can be of utility in seeking to make predictions. The first has to do with the nature of Iranian politics. Presidents are far from all-powerful, having to contend with myriad competing centres of authority and influence, overt and covert, of which the Supreme Leader is only the most obvious. Fundamentals have not changed: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei retains final say; friction between him and the president is all but inevitable; and factionalism will remain both a fact of life and a means of constraining Rouhani. At the same time, presidents are not mere figureheads; witness the differences in style and substance between Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami and Ahmadinejad.

Secondly, Rouhani is far from an unknown. He has been a fixture of the Islamic Republic since its beginnings, a consummate insider with a track record and voluminous writings. Those offer some clues regarding his preferred approach. He brought about the first and only nuclear agreement with the West, a significant achievement given the depths of mutual mistrust, yet he also openly justified the accord as allowing Iran to complete its nuclear infrastructure even while negotiating. He has bluntly criticised his successors, yet has focused more on their bluster and reckless negotiating style than on their ultimate goals. His negotiating experience also carries mixed messages: that he feels the West let him down, causing him to suffer bitter criticism at home, may well prompt him to greater caution. In particular, at a time when the U.S. and EU are intent on limiting the extent of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, Rouhani could be more inclined to offer concessions regarding that program’s transparency than its scope.

That suggests a third point. The change in presidents will usher in important changes in style and negotiating tactics but certainly will not bring about significant changes in Iran’s bottom line demands: recognition of its right to enrich and meaningful sanctions relief. A deal today is thus harder to imagine than when Rouhani last was in charge of the nuclear dossier. Positions have hardened; trust has diminished; the nuclear program has substantially advanced; and sanctions have proliferated. Western doubts about Rouhani’s ability to deliver are matched by Tehran’s scepticism that the U.S. in particular can accept a modus vivendi with the Islamic Republic or that President Barak Obama has the political muscle to lift sanctions.

Such misgivings are unavoidable but should not be paralysing. Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany) have become stale; now is as promising a time as is likely to occur to refresh them. This could be achieved in three interlocking ways: altering the substance of a possible deal, combining a confidence-building agreement on Iran’s 20 per cent enrichment with presentation of the contours of a possible nuclear endgame, as Crisis Group has proposed; modifying modalities of the negotiations by complementing multilateral discussions with confidential, bilateral U.S.-Iranian engagement; and expanding the scope of those talks to include regional security matters.

The promise embodied by Rouhani’s election can grow or quickly fizzle. As he takes office and comes face to face with myriad domestic and foreign challenges, it would be a good idea for the West to encourage him to move in the right direction.

Washington/Brussels, 13 August 2013

Philippe Errera
Draft text for reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement as shared by France's lead negotiator in February. Philippe Errera
Briefing 87 / Middle East & North Africa

Is Restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal Still Possible?

Though hope is fading, the U.S. and Iran may still be able to revitalise the 2015 accord on Tehran’s nuclear program. Should they falter, they should pursue more modest interim goals rather than allow the risk of confrontation to grow.

  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Download PDF Full Report

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.