IransView: The new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group began on Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, to the two sides to work out the final steps of the Geneva Agreement. The Iranian team, headed by Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, is still striving to sell the November, 24 Geneva deal at home by persuading a major part of Iranian policymakers and the leadership that the joint plan of action it formulated Geneva during the talks with the P5+1 group was a breakthrough in the future of Tehran’s nuclear program. The deal has been the target of criticisms not only by Principlist politicians but even by reformist academics in their university lectures.
However, above all dissatisfactions of the plan exerted by various concerning groups in Iran is the Rouhani administration’s failure to convince the leadership that the deal was a success for Tehran, the new US sanctions against the country have been intensified in the months that followed the deal and the US officials tend to use threatening rhetoric when dealing with Iran. Prior to the Geneva talks, the negotiating team, and of course Rouhan, enjoyed the Supreme Leader’s full support when he described them as ‘sons of the Revolution’.
A day before the talks in Vienna begun, the Leader, addressing large mass of Iranians, openly talked about his discord with the negotiation’s process.
“Some of the officials from of the previous and current administration believe that we have to talk to the US to resolve the nuclear issue,” he said. “Ok, then. We said go ahead and talk to them about this specific topic, but I said in my speech at the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year that I would not disagree with such talks while I am not optimistic about its outcome. Now, look at their ludicrous remarks [against Iran],” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader’s remarks came following his prolonged discussions with the Rouhani administration and the nuclear team about Iran’s promises in the Geneva deal which limited a vast part of its nuclear activities. The promises are believed to be detrimental to the progress of Iran’s nuclear program; however, the Leader insists that Tehran should be committed to them because he knows that failing to observe them would make things even worse for Iran.
“What the Foreign Ministry has started will be continued, Iran will not violate its commitments but I am saying now it will not get anywhere,” he said on Monday.
Anyway it seems that Foreign Minister Zarif accepted some of the criticism and is willing to try to satisfy some of them in the Vienna talks.
Iran’s Leader favors a resolution at the end of the talks which allows Iran to pursue an industrial enrichment program. Moreover, the exact number of active centrifuges and the fate of Arak Heavy-water facilities should also be discussed in the talks.
The fact is that most of the critics of the Geneva deal in Tehran maintain that the Iranian negotiating team has missed many privileges in the talks so far like 20% enrichment and annihilation of the reserves. Policy makers in Tehran believe that that a proper final agreement should contain transparency procedures rather than mechanisms to confine its progress. The agreement should also link and unify Iran’s talks with the IAEA with the P5+1.
Negotiation in Vienna are more difficult for Mohammad-Javad Zarif and his team who are trying to prove their ability to acquire not a deal but a “good deal” that can be sold at home. They may believe that the Iran’s leader’s New Year Speech, less than two month later, maybe kind of ultimatum for them.