Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks Extend Beyond Deadline

Council on Foreign Relation
International negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers went into overtime (Al Jazeera) on Wednesday after missing a self-imposed midnight deadline to reach a framework agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program. Amid mixed messages and hints of optimism, significant hurdles (NYT) remain between the parties over uranium enrichment, the restrictions imposed on Iran's nuclear research, and which sanctions against the country would be lifted and when. Washington signaled that if a political deal is not reached, the United State will not wait (WaPo) until June 30 to walk away from the negotiating table. As nuclear talks press on, Iran called (WSJ) on the Saudi-led coalition to cease their air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen and urged all parties involved in the conflict to hold political talks.
"Longtime observers of U.S.-Iran relations believe that both governments have invested so much political capital in these negotiations over the past 18 months that they cannot afford to allow them to fail. For Obama, an Iran nuclear agreement would be a crowning foreign policy achievement, while for Iranians, a deal would bring a welcome injection of oxygen to an economy choked by sanctions, low oil prices and government mismanagement," writes Barbara Slavin for Al Jazeera America.
"But even if an agreement is reached, four decades of hostility between Iran and the United States will not be erased overnight. A number of observers have cited shared interests between the U.S. and Iran in defeating Islamic State or in a stable Iraq. President Rouhani and his team would like to build on those shared interests, but Ayatollah Khamenei will continue to seek a major regional role for Iran—a goal that puts Iran in competition with the U.S. in the Middle East," writes Haleh Esfandiari in the Wall Street Journal.
"This process of engagement is a significant achievement of the Obama administration, even if the nuclear accord unravels. Iran is now a diplomatic and political factor in regional and world politics, for better or worse. The right U.S. strategy was to prevent this rising Iran from getting nuclear weapons, not to pretend that it didn’t exist," writes David Ignatius in the Washington Post