伊朗核谈判:迷雾渐散

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概述

伊朗和“五常+1”(联合国安理会五个常任理事国加上德国,也称“欧盟3+3”)没能在他们设定的11月24日截止日期到来之前达成全面核协议,这并不令人吃惊。数月来,谈判因两个重要议题而陷入僵局:一是伊朗浓缩项目的规模,二是制裁的缓解。由于在最后一分钟没能出现突破,各方同意再次将谈判延长七个月,新的目标是在2015年3月1日前达成一项政治协议,以及在2015年7月1日前达成一项包括实施计划在内的全面协议。如果双方都采取更加灵活的态度,仍有可能达成一项里程碑式的协议。国际危机组织曾撰文说明,此处亦重申,双方可以在不伤害各自核心原则和利益的前提下实现这一目标。

虽然许多持怀疑态度者认为,延期证明整个谈判是注定要失败的,但各方其实在维也纳取得了相当大的进展,并在过去12个月里在多项议题上缩小了分歧。臃肿复杂的多边谈判体系和共同解决政治与技术问题这一不明智的决定减慢了谈判的进展速度,但是,随着截止日期的临近,谈判人员对程序进行了微调,加快了谈判速度,增加了谈判的严肃性,并更加确认了基于对话和信任的谈判氛围。虽然没能达成协议,但双方都比以往更清晰地陈述了各自的核心政治要求,谈判人员从而比以往更好地了解了对方的立场和所受的限制。

虽然最终的成功远不能说是胜利在望,但在仅12个月多一点的时间里,谈判取得的进展已经超过了几年来紧张关系不断升级的效果:五常+1几乎得以把核查速度提高一倍,并把德黑兰浓缩足够的矿物质以制造一枚武器所需的时间——即名义突破时间——延长了一倍;伊朗则得以减少制裁,并通过遵守2013年11月达成的临时协议而修补了自身的形象。然而,双方的分歧依然尖锐,而随着怀疑者们的声音越来越大,克服这些分歧也将随着时间的推移而更加困难。伊朗的底线有两重内容:第一,伊朗进行工业规模浓缩的权利要得到承认,第二,伊朗所进行的任何不可逆的让步都必须换来相应的制裁减轻,而且是结束制裁,而非暂停制裁。五常+1不能接受任何短于1年的突破时间,另外,由于制裁是五常+1最有效的谈判砝码,他们坚持在全面协议的有效期内,即使暂停某些具体制裁措施,但必须保持制裁的大框架。

虽然达成协议困难重重,但澄清谈判进展所面临的阻碍也意义重大。低估谈判人员所取得的成就和高估他们成功的机会一样,都是严重的错误。虽然存在阻碍,但通向协议的道路是切实存在的。这将需要伊朗推迟其工业规模浓缩计划,而五常+1需要支持该项目在控制下发展,并清楚地给出阶段性解除制裁的目标日期。

既然现在迷雾渐散,各方就应尽快向前迈进。这种积极的势头很快就会减弱,并带走和平解决这一顽固不化的危机的可能。

伊斯坦布尔/维也纳/布鲁塞尔, 2014年12月10日

I. Overview

The failure of Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, also known as EU3+3) to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement by their self-imposed 24 November deadline was no surprise. The process had been deadlocked for months over two key issues: the size of Iran’s enrichment program and sanctions relief. For want of a last-minute breakthrough, the parties agreed to a new seven-month extension, with the goal of reaching a political agreement by 1 March 2015 and a comprehensive agreement, including an implementation plan, by 1 July 2015. A landmark agreement can still be found if both sides adopt more flexible postures. As Crisis Group has previously written and here reiterates, they can do so without violating their core principles and interests.

Though many sceptics took the extension as confirmation that the entire process is doomed, the parties made considerable progress in Vienna and narrowed their differences on a multitude of issues over the past twelve months. Talks were slowed by the cumbersome multilateral framework and an ill-advised decision to jointly tackle political and technical questions, but as the deadline loomed, negotiators tweaked the process, increased the pace and seriousness of the talks, and affirmed a heightened spirit of dialogue and trust. While an agreement proved elusive, both sides expressed their core political requirements more clearly than before. As a result, never have negotiators had a better understanding of their counterparts’ positions and constraints.

While ultimate success is far from guaranteed, negotiations, in a little more than twelve months, have achieved more than years of escalation: the P5+1 has managed nearly to double both the tempo of inspections and Tehran’s nominal breakout time, the interval required to enrich enough fissile material for one weapon; Iran has pared back sanctions and started to restore its image by honouring its commitments under the November 2013 interim accord. Yet differences remain sharp and overcoming them will grow more difficult with time, as the voices of sceptics get louder. Iran’s redlines are two-fold: first, recognition of its right to industrial-scale enrichment and, secondly, that any irreversible concessions it makes will be met with commensurate steps on sanctions – specifically their termination, not just suspension. As for the P5+1, it insists on denying Iran a breakout time of any less than a year, as well as on maintaining the sanctions architecture – even if some are suspended – for the duration of the comprehensive agreement, since they are the group’s most effective leverage.

As difficult as forging an agreement will be, there is considerable value in having clarified what stands in the way. It would be as grave a mistake to underestimate how far the negotiators have come as it would be to overestimate their chances of success. Obstacles notwithstanding, there is a credible path to an agreement. It would require for Iran to postpone its plans for industrial-scale enrichment while the P5+1 countenances controlled growth of that program and clearly defines target dates for a phased lifting of sanctions.

Now that the fog has receded, the parties should move ahead quickly. The positive momentum will soon fade, and with it, the chances for a peaceful resolution of this protracted crisis.

Istanbul/Vienna/Brussels, 10 December 2014

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.

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