Countdown Has Begun for Great Political Decision

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ardeshir Zarei Ghanavati
Expert on International Relations & Foreign Policy

The heavy traffic of politicians and experts involved in Iran's nuclear case in Vienna during the last days of the deadline set for July 7, along with their different and at times conflicting remarks on the possibility of a comprehensive nuclear deal, shows that the Gordian knot of these talks cannot be cut in the absence of difficult political decisions to be made by both sides of the nuclear negotiations.

Past experiences in this regard show that negotiators on both sides of the table will insist on their red lines and their main demands up to the last minutes of the deadline and even in extra times, while remaining careful not to cause failure of the nuclear project and taking the talks toward an unbreakable deadlock. Since both sides of the negotiations are well aware that the failure of these talks would mean a return to increased tension and possible replacement of war for peace diplomacy, accepting the failure of talks is a “nightmare” for both of them because it can have destructive and devastating effects in all national, regional and international fields.

Apart from the reaction shown by pressure groups in Washington and Tehran and dissatisfaction of Israel and conservative Arab states with the result of these talks, both the US President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, have made hefty and irreplaceable investments in these talks. Therefore, they have no other choice, but to reach some form of compromise and get out of the crisis that lies ahead of them. Even the opposition shown by a third party like France in the heat of the negotiations in line with Paris’ profiteering policy, cannot be considered a determining factor in the face of the political will of Tehran and Washington to reach an agreement. During these days, politicians and media crews are regularly talking about the “remaining parentheses” in the formulation of the comprehensive nuclear deal and are speculating about it. However, all these unsolved puzzles have their roots in a strategic decision on reaching a historic understanding to be made by the two main powers involved in the talks.

Under these conditions, this deal and equation has reached such a level of importance that lack of its realization would possibly imbalance all political, economic, security and geopolitical calculations of all sides to the nuclear negotiations. Therefore, it would not be logical for the involved sides to dig in technical and legal details so persistently as to endanger the entire game. Acceptance of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; limitation of uranium enrichment by Iran; controlled inspections of Iran's suspicious facilities; removal or suspension of sanctions imposed on Tehran; acceptance of Iran's basic nuclear rights; objective cooperation of the Western side for giving light water technology and facilities to Iran in return for changes in Arak heavy water facility; and most importantly, making political differentiation between the remaining ambiguities about possible existence of a military nuclear program in Iran's case during the past years and the ongoing negotiations, are all bits of a puzzle whose complete picture has been already agreed upon by the two negotiating sides.

Politicians, negotiators, and senior decision-makers on both sides of this dispute have entered this game on the basis of their own cost-benefit calculations and with the purpose of going beyond the old equation of “zero-sum game.” Therefore, despite all their insistence and bickering, they should finally reach an agreement on a deal for which they have already paid the cost. In this stage of the negotiations, more than being concerned about the failure of talks, the main point for each side is to obtain maximum concessions from the other side before a final agreement is reached to resolve Iran's nuclear case. All problems facing the negotiators have their own logical and principled solutions and, for this reason, red lines that are drawn by each side are actually resilient.

The peace diplomacy can be only defined on the basis of compromise and, in a worst-case scenario, on the basis of the situation of cease-fire, and the final deal takes place on the basis of this logic and necessity. A constructive and profit-seeking diplomacy becomes meaningful when it can give the other side room for reaching a deal and compromise. Therefore, if a final deal over Iran's nuclear program is not clinched by July 9, it would become less possible for Tehran’s opposite side in Washington to abide by its obligations. At present, the time is ripe for Tehran, Washington and even the European Union to make the final decision because after the lapse of this deadline they may not have a better opportunity to make this decision.

Key Words: Great Political Decision, Iran's Nuclear Case, Deadlock, Peace Diplomacy, Non-Proliferation Treaty, Barack Obama, Hassan Rouhani, Additional Protocol, Zarei Ghanavati

Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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