Insider news & Analysis in Iran

As Sunni and other opposition groups continue to threaten the US-created and Tehran-allied government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq, American officials have signaled willingness to share information and perhaps coordinate strategy with their traditional enemies in the Iranian government. In spite of this, it is clear that there are strict limits being placed upon how much that coordination would be permitted to affect US policy towards Iran. 

On Friday, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations – the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China – wrapped up their fifth round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program. Going into the start of this round on Monday, there were already considerable doubts about the prospects for a final deal in time for the self-imposed deadline of July 20. With the week’s discussions ended, those doubts do not seem to be alleviated in any very significant way. 

The Obama administration’s approach toward nuclear talks with Iran is generating unease among Washington’s traditional Arab and Israeli allies – and will at a minimum need to be counterbalanced by robust pushback against other elements of Iran’s foreign policy -  testimony submitted last Thursday to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by veteran American diplomacy Ambassador Dennis Ross:

The Obama administration’s decision to take a generous view of Iranian oil exports and the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) may be motivated by the administration’s desperate desire to see a nuclear deal brokered successfully.

Tehran-based news website “Nuclear Iran” has reported that the current conflict between Iran and the P5+1 is focused on the enrichment capacity of its nuclear program. Iran, is at a sensitive point in nuclear negotiations, at which one of the two sides will have to give up some of its demands in order to reach a final settlement. 

Bilateral Talks 

This week, the US and Iran have engaged in bilateral talks to attempt reconciliation of their differences on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and the West’s attempt to contain it. On Tuesday, it was reported that Deputy Secretary William Burns had been dispatched to the talks to join other American negotiators in the talks that began on Monday and were scheduled to last only two days. Burns was instrumental in helping the US to secure the interim deal that was reached last November, and his arrival at these latest talks is being seen as a symbol of the urgency that the US has ascribed to them.

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