Worrying Development Ahead of Resumed Talks with Iran

Laura Rozen reports that the six world power negotiating team may not be revamping its package to be more generous with Iran as many were hoping (Russia has not even signed on to the new version yet) ahead of resumed talks which likely won’t take place until January.

Many analysts have stated that sanctions relief must be on the table if the goal is to entice Iran to make serious compromises. In July, former top CIA analyst Paul Pillar explained why the “Nothing-But-Pressure Fallacy” is doomed to fail:

 …And the story of stasis in the nuclear talks is also pretty simple. The Iranians have made it clear they are willing to make the key concession about no longer enriching uranium at the level that has raised fears about a “break-out” capability in return for sanctions relief. But the P5+1 have failed to identify what would bring such relief, instead offering only the tidbit of airplane parts and the vaguest of suggestions that they might consider some sort of relief in the future. The Iranians are thus left to believe that heavy pressure, including sanctions, will continue no matter what they do at the negotiating table, and that means no incentive to make more concessions.

This worrying development only adds to potential impediments already standing in the way of significant headway being made during the diplomatic process. Iran analyst Trita Parsi discusses “Three Worries about the Next Iran Talks” in Al-Monitor, such as grandstanding versus statemanship, which both the US and Iran are certainly prone to:

…Iran can’t expect that merely stopping enrichment at the 20% level will be sufficient to close the Iranian file and lift all sanctions. At the same time, lifting of both US and EU sanctions must be part of the solution. In previous rounds, Washington refused to put sanctions relief on the table, thinking — innocently perhaps — that pressure alone would bring the Iranians to compromise. Obama administration officials have told experts in Washington that it will likely go back to the table with the same package as in the summer; that is, with no sanctions relief. European diplomats, while admitting that no deal is possible without sanctions relief, tell me that they do not expect any sanctions to begin to be lifted until late 2013 at the earliest. Continued refusal to make sanctions relief part of the mix from the outset will prove to be a decisive mistake.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.