By Dr. Mohsen Milani for Gulf State Analytics
The failure of six global powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, frequently referred to as the “P5+1″) and Iran to meet the November 24, 2014 deadline for reaching a final nuclear agreement was indeed a setback. However, the decision to extend the deadline to July 2015 was a victory for diplomacy. Both sides believe much was already achieved, as they seek to avoid war at a perilous juncture when the Middle East is at the midst of a tumultuous transformation.
A final deal is achievable. Such a deal would benefit Iran, the U.S., and the Middle East. Yet, decades of mutual demonization by the U.S. and Iran have created formidable constituencies that can scuttle the negotiations.
Distrust and Conflicting Interests
The critics of the Joint Plan of Action—signed by Iran and the global powers in November 2013—lament that Tehran is engaged in a charm offensive to obtain economic relief and buy time to surreptitiously develop a nuclear weapon. Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes that seven years before he became president, Hassan Rouhani developed “a doctrine of surprise” in which Iran would lull the U.S. into complacency, before delivering a “knockout blow” — presumably a nuclear bomb.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) warns that, “We‘re definitely getting played by the Iranians. We are told the interim deal has been more propitious to Iran than to the global powers and that Iran is “cheating on its commitments.” Senator-elect Tom Cotton (R-AK) hopes “that Congress’ role will be to put an end to these negotiations.” Cotton continued, “Iran is getting everything it wants in slow motion so why would they ever reach a final agreement?”
The negotiations have thus far resulted in a ‘win-win’ for both sides, although Iran has conceded more than received. There is also no evidence of cheating. Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), verifies that Iranian authorities are honoring the commitment that they have made, and Wendy Sherman, the top U.S. negotiator, confirms that Tehran “has done what it promised to do.”
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