Camelia Entekhabi-Fard/It’s crunch time as Iran’s nuclear deadline looms


It’s crunch time as Iran’s nuclear deadline looms
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard/Al Arabiya
Monday, 17 November 2014

While the world holds its breath over the Iranian nuclear talks, with a week to go before the November 24 deadline it is still not clear whether the agreement will be reached in time.
Two days of trilateral intense meetings between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU representative Catherine Ashton wrapped up on Monday 10 November in Muscat with “no news.”

Iran’s nuclear file key to reaching peace and stability in the region and many people are anxiously following the latest news to know if the moderate government of Hassan Rowhani and democrat U.S. president Barak Obama would be able to tackle this long standing issue.
Some said the talks in Oman were frustrating but this depends on the expectations held. The talks were not totally unsuccessful as the core aim of this meeting was to find a mutual under-standing between Iran and the United States. Oman offered Iran and the U.S. a friendly hand at this crucial time and tried helping them reach the conclusion before momentum was lost, as Oman’s Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alwai said.

“A nuclear deal is the first step toward Iran becoming a “great power” by enabling it to escape international isolation”

Alawi emphasized the fact that his counterparts in the GCC had talked to him on the phone and they showed support for the talks in Oman. “ The breakthrough [on nuclear talks] will be followed by a situation of stability and cooperation on the region and international levels and all misunderstands will be becoming friendship.” FM Alwai told the press on November 11.
The meeting in Oman was a call for peace between the U.S. and Iran offered by a mutual friend.

Eye on the talks
The next round of the talks and the last one before the interim agreement expires on November 24 has been scheduled to be taking place in Austria on Tuesday November 18.
The foreign ministers of the negotiating countries of the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. security council plus Germany) have been told to make themselves available between 18-24 November to come to Vienna when they are needed.

But why have the negotiations been lagging? I feel that what has been preventing Iran and the U.S. from reaching the nuclear deal is beyond the sanctions and the number of the centrifuges. Of course, their difference is mainly about Iran’s demands for the removal of all sanctions and for the U.S., it is about the level of uranium enrichment and the number of centrifuges Iran can attain.

Sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program are only one piece of the international sanctions regime. For example, sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program and human rights violations would still be in place. They can’t be removed right away with the other sanctions like the embargoes on oil or the banking system being removed. This is particularly since Iran refused to include the bal-listic missile issue in nuclear negotiations.

A nuclear deal is the first step toward Iran becoming a “great power” by walking out from international isolation and becoming a natural partner of the big players – but it won’t come without compromise.

The region is waiting to see if whether after more than three decades of animosity between Iran and the U.S. peace could be granted once and for all. For Israel, they are waiting to see if the talks will fall apart and perhaps hope that the Republican-dominated Congress will restrain Obama from further flexibility toward Iran.
Lastly, if the talks are to be extended, Iran runs a risk because international politics and will quickly change and the momentum that picked up in Oman shouldn’t be lost.