In Nuclear Talks, Opportunities Must Be Seized

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Abdolreza Ghofrani
Former Senior Diplomat and International Analyst 

The new round of tripartite nuclear talks between Iran Foreign Minister, US Secretary of State and EU Chief Negotiator is scheduled to be held tomorrow 9 November 2014 in Muscat, the capital city of Sultanate of Oman. This new round of negotiations is pretty important because of having two dimensions.

First, this is the last face to face meeting of two top diplomats before 28 November, the extended time set for reaching a final and comprehensive agreement. So the two parties need to contemplate carefully and attentively on the remaining issues that, as analysts and well informed sources believe, has kept them apart deterring reaching a mutually agreed upon deal. Notwithstanding those remaining issues there are hopes that this time around the differences be further narrowed setting grounds for the agreement on the last days of November.

Second, tomorrow the Sultanate of Oman hosts these negotiations. Over the past couple of decades Oman has taken well balanced, realistic and wise policies and having good and mutually respected relations with Iran, the countries of the region and of course the United States. These policies have brought this small country at the southern part Persian Gulf with confidence and admiration. In fact, over the past eight years, it was Oman that acted as an impartial and sober mediator resolving some issues existed between Islamic Republic of Iran and United States which is quite commendable. Though the "Nuclear Talks" essentially and naturally have nothing to do with third parties or other countries and it is merely the concerns and interests of two involved countries, it is worthy to note that it has been the good offices of Oman that these talks have had some advances. At this critical juncture, undoubtedly the presence of Oman, or at least this country being the venue of the talks, has its positive consequences for a probable mutually agreed upon agreement.

On the other side, however, over the past couple of weeks and while we are only three weeks away from extended time for reaching a probable final agreement, some circles, either in the West or in the region, who do not want this issue be resolved once for all, with their unproductive and pessimistic comments, try most to undermine these negotiations, making obstacles on its way and trend. Simultaneously, the hardliners in the West has started to exert pressures on US President Barak Obama to get him stuck in a difficult situation. These pressures have considerably increased when some US mass media reported of a letter US president has sent to Iran Supreme Leader. Though this report has not been verified, the spokeswoman of US State Department did not refute it.

In the meantime, IAEA have uttered some issues, being unrealistic and sometimes quite irrelevant, that indicate some kind of contradictions in the agency. Surely these will not help the negotiations process. So it is for IAEA to comment on facts and not be pressured by certain groups, if it has good will that the present nuclear negotiations be ended in good results.

Now, it is also for US Administration that, in spite of the existing obstacles, does not permit the situation be exacerbated. US Administration, as put by an analyst recently, has now a good opportunity (and probably the last one) to seize. Otherwise there may be conditions that are not useful for anybody, and US may lose the most; it does not make a difference then that either Republicans or Democrats have majority in the Capitol Hill and who will sit in the Oval Office. 

Key Words: Nuclear Talks, Opportunities, Iran Foreign Minister, US Secretary of State, EU Chief Negotiator, Oman, Barak Obama, IAEA, Republicans, Democrats, Ghofrani

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*Photo Credit: LobeLog