Talks in Vienna resume over the Iranian nuclear capabilities as delegates from the P5+1 and Iran convene to iron out some major issues standing in the way of a final-status deal, such as the Arak heavy water reactor, uranium enrichment levels etc.
Looming over the negotiations are a number of obstacles, from the internal political struggle between Iran’s moderates and hardliners, the radical statements from Iran impacted with an uncompromising approach, to divisions and competing interests in the international community’s ranks.
Reports suggest this latest round of negotiations will be tougher than the last. On Sunday, Reuters quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying he did not expect the talks to result in an agreement.
One more obstacle, according to a US official cited by Reuters, is Iran’s continued efforts to acquire banned components for its nuclear and missile programs via a Chinese businessman, even as the interim deal was being negotiated last year. Iranian lawmakers made a more tactfully-worded demand for “full and inalienable” nuclear rights, as per the semi-official Fars news agency.
As both sides build trust, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted that the Islamic messiah would “behead” Western leaders, according to the state-owned Mehr news agency. If that was not enough, note the accusation, as printed in Frontpage Mag by the Iranian Parliament’s foreign policy spokesman, Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, that the US kidnapped the Malaysian flight
Indeed, the question of the Iranian leadership and the real power control is likely to figure heavily into the outcome of the talks, as several media outlets have stated. Most notably, an analysis by Immanuel Wallerstein that appeared on Middle East Online suggested Sunday that political considerations would play an important part in determining both the duration of negotiations and their results.
Predicting that Iranian and Western leaders had one year, at most, to ink a deal, Wallerstein said that an agreement would be reached only if both sides made concessions to bridge the gap between their near-contradictory agendas. Such a “magic formula” is hard to come by “even if both sides are negotiating in good faith,” warned Wallerstein.
But if neither side compromises, persons with more militant agendas may take control of the situation, possibly launching a war that would consume the region, Wallerstein warned. In the background, Khamenei’s menacing prediction echoed chillingly.