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Final Push in Vienna: Nuclear Deal Is Likely

8 July 2015 8:14


Just when everyone thought progress was made on finalising a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, American negotiators declared it “out of the question” to lift the United Nations Security Council arms embargos against Iran.

This is while according to the Geneva Interim Deal and the Lausanne framework agreement, all UN, US, Congress and European sanctions/restrictions are to be lifted under a final deal, even allowing the import and export of conventional weapons. Let’s reduce all this to its essence:

– Just like other excuses, much of the impetus behind the UN ban was Washington’s false claims of Tehran having a nuclear weapons program, and the conventional arms imports supporting that. With that question resolved, the UN embargo must end.

– A deal that benefits all is still likely although tensions between Tehran and Washington over the latter’s endless demands have intensified in recent days. The Lausanne framework agreement could work, if the US doesn’t spoil it.

– Any really good deal was lost when the Americans reneged on their undertakings the moment the Lausanne Agreement was announced on April 2. Ever since, the spoilers in Washington and their anti-deal outfits in Congress have been dedicated to promoting and strengthening sanctions and taking a hard line in the current negotiations. The issue for the Iranian negotiators now is managing these anti-deal machinations. It’s a rational response, as the goal is diplomacy.

– Though resisted by vested interests in the US, diplomacy is worth pursuing by all sides. In the words of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “The comprehensive agreement is within reach. What’s important is that all parties – especially the United States and Iran – should make the final decisions as quickly as possible.”

– For that to happen all UN Security Council sanction resolutions should be rescinded and the arms embargo lifted. This is because Iran will have to take a lot of steps to implement its obligations compared to the other side. To compensate for that front-loading of commitments, Tehran expects to see its frozen assets abroad returned and the embargo lifted – straightaway…

The negotiators and interlocutors on both sides of the talks have come too far to let a deal slip away. Even as the July 7 deadline has slipped, we are still likely in the end game. And we will know soon enough what international diplomacy has wrought.

At day’s end, the US has to uphold the promising outcome of the Lausanne Agreement plus the basic norms governing international treaties. A final deal will not emerge as long as American interlocutors continue to entertain buyer’s remorse and put Iranians against the Security Council.

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