Insider news & Analysis in Iran

Kerry and Zarif

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met for the second straight day in Vienna to discuss the nuclear negotiations that are now in their final week before the July 20 deadline set by the interim agreement. Going into their private meetings, where they were accompanied by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Kerry and Zarif indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to assess whether progress would be possible in the time remaining.

At the conclusion of Monday’s two-hour meeting, Kerry told reporters that the conversation had been productive, although he gave no indication of any specific expectations of compromise between the negotiating parties. The vaguely positive statement reflects the attitude that has been expressed to the media throughout the process, and that is ongoing among some of those involved.

Reuters reports that British Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted that it is still too early to talk about extension of the talks. But some analysts have already remarked that it is unlikely that the negotiating powers haven’t begun considering the prospects and potential terms of an extension. Other individuals close to the talks have been less circumspect. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters that “the ball is in Iran’s court,” reinforcing the general sentiment that Iran’s intransigence has prevented progress.

Zarif’s Charm and Khamenei’s Defiance

Naturally, Iran does not publicly accept this point of view. In fact, its foreign minister has been pushing the opposite narrative, as with a recent tweet in which he said that Iran would not stoop to participating in the blame game. The LA Times reports on this and other efforts by Zarif to try to make the West look like bullies in the negotiations, with Iran as the more reasonable party.

This is of course contradicted by Supreme Leader Khamenei’s confrontational comments about the talks, in which he has insisted upon a dramatic expansion of Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity, as well as rejecting any limits on its ballistic missile stockpiles, all while insisting that the United States cannot afford to attack Iran and has no way of compelling it to cooperate.

In fact, last week, Khamenei specified new demands that Iran be permitted to increase its current enrichment capabilities 19 times over. Reuters quotes the responses of Western intelligence analysts to this speech, which some of them described as being roughly as important as the State of the Union Address in the United States. One analyst said it was clear that Khamenei’s comments “were aimed at severely curtailing his team's room for maneuver, making it effectively impossible to bridge gaps” between Iran and the P5+1.

What’s more, Khamenei is joined in his defiance by other representatives of the Iranian government. Member of parliament Avaz Heidarpour was quoted by Iran’s Tasmin News Agency as saying that the West’s refusal to accept Khamenei’s enormous enrichment demands will cause Iran to walk away from the talks without a deal.

“Good Cop, Bad Cop”

The LA Times also quotes Alireza Nader, an Iran specialist at the Rand Corporation, as saying that the contradictory approaches of the different Iranian officials are probably deliberate, and constitute “skillful diplomacy,” with Zarif and Khamenei playing the roles of “good cop” and “bad cop,” respectively. Nader also points out that Iran has chastised the US and Israel for utilizing exactly this strategy.

But even if the strategies of the two sides are the same, the essentially difference is that US would be using it to push for compromise, whereas Iran’s intractable positions make it clear that Zarif’s “disarming charm” can only serve to delay the failure or talks, and possible give the impression that the US is to blame for that failure.

Sanctions Relief Quantified

An article at The Daily Beast helps to explain why Iran apparently feels justified in continuing talks while simultaneously sabotaging their chances of success. The article provides details of a report by Roubini Global Economics and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which finds that the US has undercut its leverage in talks by providing temporary sanctions relief that has allowed the Iranian economy to rebound more than was expected.

Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies says that whereas Secretary of State John Kerry estimated that sanctions relief under November’s interim agreement would be worth 7 billion dollars, it has actually been valued at more than 11 billion, with the possibility of long-term effects far exceeding Dubowitz’s previous estimate of 20 billion.

Part of this figure is attributable to the interim agreements effect of “improved sentiment,” which has led numerous multination banks and other businesses to start doing business with Iran in spite of the fact that sanctions are technically on the books.

“Big Brother”

Al-Monitor reports that a law has been proposed that would offer special legal protections to those who claim to be carrying out the Shiite practice of “enjoining good and forbidding wrong.” That is, persons who see neighbors or passersby engaged in acts that those persons deem to be in violation of Sharia or the precepts of Islam would be given carte blanche to stop those actions. If the law was enacted, persons who thus intrude into the lives of others would not be able to be arrested or prosecuted for doing so in the name of Islam.

 

 

Iranian Opposition

Recognizing Iran regime’s real opponents

Recognizing Iran regime’s real opponents

By INU Staff The Iran threat is complicated and it is worsened by the misinformation and a lack of true reporting by the internat...

Time to support the quest of Iranian People for Regime Change

Time to support the quest of Iranian People for Regime Change

By INU Staff INU - After years and years of mismanagement and widespread corruption, the Iranian economy is in tatters and the pe...

Infightings

Iran: Further media restrictions to impact 2020 parliamentary elections

Iran: Further media restrictions to impact 2020 parliamentary elections

By INU Staff INU - The Iranian parliamentary elections are due to be held in just over a year on 21st February 2020. In preparati...

Iran: Supreme Leader Tries to Avoid Public Backlash Following Flooding Crisis

Iran: Supreme Leader Tries to Avoid Public Backlash Following Flooding Crisis

By Siavosh The people of Iran have been dealing with the aftermath of torrential rain and huge storms that have resulted in flash...

Nuclear

Iran Regime’s Nuclear Ultimatum May Have Opposite of Intended Effect on European Policy

Iran Regime’s Nuclear Ultimatum May Have Opposite of Intended Effect on European…

By Edward Carney Although the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal remain broadly committed to upholding it a year ...

Iran angry at France over tweets regarding nuclear deal

Iran angry at France over tweets regarding nuclear deal

By INU Staff INU - Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has said that tweets by Gerard Araud, the French Ambassador to th...

Human rights

Two Months After Nationwide Flooding, Iran Still Withholds Relief, Attacks Victims

Two Months After Nationwide Flooding, Iran Still Withholds Relief, Attacks Victi…

By Edward Carney United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the European Civil Protection Mechanism h...

Ramadan Marks Accelerated Repression of Iran’s Religious Minorities, Secular Youth

Ramadan Marks Accelerated Repression of Iran’s Religious Minorities, Secular You…

By Mahmoud Hakamian On Wednesday, Iran Human Rights Monitor reported upon a raid that occurred at a restaurant located on the cam...

Women

Tensions Growing Between Female Activists and Sexist Iranian Institutions

Tensions Growing Between Female Activists and Sexist Iranian Institutions

By Edward Carney On Monday, the Center for Human Rights in Iran reported upon the sentencing of a female political prisoner by th...

Fearing Arrest, Iran’s Female Boxer Shines Light on Women’s Rights Issues

Fearing Arrest, Iran’s Female Boxer Shines Light on Women’s Rights Issues

By Edward Carney On Sunday, Al Monitor published an article examining the case of Sadaf Khadem, a female Iranian boxer who made h...

Economy

Iran’s export to Iraq drop by 50%

Iran’s export to Iraq drop by 50%

By INU Staff INU - Iraq has significantly reduced its imports from the Iranian Regime in the past month, according to an economic...

Iran Regime’s economic problems caused by military interference

Iran Regime’s economic problems caused by military interference

By INU Staff INU - Iran’s economy is set to contract by 6% in 2019, while also facing 40% inflation, according to the Internation...

Sanctions

Details of US-Iran Escalation Remain Hazy, but Sanctions Remain the Focus

Details of US-Iran Escalation Remain Hazy, but Sanctions Remain the Focus

By Edward Carney In the midst of escalating tensions between Iran and the United States, Western media was filled with inconsiste...

Turkey complies with U.S. regarding imports of Iranian oil

Turkey complies with U.S. regarding imports of Iranian oil

By INU Staff INU - Last year, the U.S. State Department announced that it would be expecting all foreign countries to reduce thei...

Middle East

White House Confident in its Ability to Deter Iranian Threats

White House Confident in its Ability to Deter Iranian Threats

By Edward Carney Escalating tensions between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran were prominently featu...

The IRGC and Catching the Mullahs off Guard

The IRGC and Catching the Mullahs off Guard

By Dr Salem Al Ketbi The Iranian mullahs have no other project than the sectarianist, expansionist plans of the Iranian Revolutio...

Terrorism

Iran behind attacks on ships in Middle East

Iran behind attacks on ships in Middle East

By INU Staff INU - Earlier this week, a U.S. official announced that the recent attacks carried out in the Middle East were order...

As Iran’s Provocations Grow, the White House Insists the Danger is Well-Managed

As Iran’s Provocations Grow, the White House Insists the Danger is Well-Managed

By Edward Carney On Tuesday, the UK’s Express newspaper declared that concerns about the potential for war had increased further ...

Iran Protests 2018

Free Iran 2018 Gathering - 30 June 2018 - Villepinte, Paris

latest INU tweet

GETTING TO KNOW IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS

THE STORY OF THE 1988 MASSACRE IN IRAN

Copyright © 2018 Iran News Update