Thus, opponents of the Iranian regime are worried that US collusion with Iran in Iraq will prompt US negotiators to further soften a position that has already been subject to criticism. The fifth round of negotiations is taking place this week, one month in advance of the deadline established by last November’s interim agreement. The possibility of meeting that deadline is seriously in doubt, although assessments of the negotiations are diverse.
Recent reports indicate that Iran has softened its position on an acceptable pace of sanctions relief if a deal is struck. But Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has set red lines on some of the most fundamental points of contention, barring negotiators from compromising on things like the number of enrichment centrifuges Iran will retain. This raises the possibility that compromise on more tangential aspects of the talks may be aimed at providing the illusion of cooperation in order to encourage the West to maintain relatively friendly policy positions toward its traditional enemy.