Geneva “Landmark Deal” Proves Elusive
The latest negotiation attempts in Vienna raised troubling questions about the ramifications of the much-touted “landmark”/”milestone” deal in Geneva barely a month ago.
The starting gun for the six month nuclear deal hasn’t yet sounded, the deal is not formally signed, its interpretations of the “spirit of the (Geneva) deal” are varied and the bazaar-like hagglings are a constant reminder that there still is no deal.
The Iranian team alternates between welcoming smiles and “warnings”, “setbacks”, “walk-outs” and “interruptions” while the “complexity of the technical issues” have resulted in a rocking one-step-forth-one-step-back routine with no end in sight.
For all those who want to believe that “moderate”/”pragmatic” President Hassan Rouhani’s promises of change were being fulfilled – guess what? Still no deal.
Meanwhile, On the Other Side of the Atlantic…
Iran’s (mis)interpretations of the Geneva have put many on edge.
The threat of renewing or even increasing sanctions is voiced not only by the US congress but by the UN’s Iran Panel of Experts and the UN Security Council.
The American public doesn’t trust Tehran’s motives and even President Barack Obama gave the deal a neutral 50-50 chance.
In the meantime, possibly out of fear of being seen as “going soft”, the Obama administration hit “two dozen companies and individuals with punitive measures for aiding Iran’s nuclear program“.
Meanwhile, Back in Tehran…
The attitudes of the Iranians to the deal, or “no-deal”, are varied.
At first, hardliners were quick to attack Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s “triumphant” nuclear deal but Supreme Leader Khamenei gave his blessing…for now. Rouhani seemed just as pleased as Zarif – his election ticket was the economy and the economy reacted well to the Geneva nuclear deal (including a long expected surge in tourism from its neighbors).
But now that the deal seems to be unwinding, the Iranians are voicing worries that an impasse in negotiations will preclude attacks on the nuclear program.
One of the outcomes of these “worries” is that Tehran has refused to allow live camera monitoring of its nuclear facilities stating that the live feeds can be abused by spy networks.
Or perhaps, these “worries” are simply good excuses to back down from promises of full transparency.
Back to Diplomacy/Haggling
The only issue both sides do seem to agree on is the need for diplomacy.
But diplomacy is just a means to an end and in order to guesstimate the chances of success through diplomacy, it is crucial to understand what exactly are the goals/motives of both sides.
The P5+1 seem to view diplomacy as a way to evade a possible multi-level confrontation with Iran in the middle. Whether they succeed or not remains to be seen.
Tehran’s motives for diplomacy are harder for us to fathom: The Iranians might also be searching for a non-confrontational option but they are also haggling for time to strengthen their economy, their nuclear program and their standing vis-à-vis their neighbors.
For the moment, apart from a lasting peaceful solution, Tehran has achieved all of these goals.
Nuclear Deal Terminally Ill (Iran 24/07)
A 7-Billion-Six-Month Pause (Iran 24/07)
The Ever-Elusive Nuclear Deal (Iran 24/07)