As Winter Approaches An Iranian Thaw?
Is Iran Ready To Negotiate?
Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy with the Brookings Institution, believes the environment is ripe for real progress to be made toward an agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
In an interview, she says, “It appears that that’s an area [in which] the Iranians are at least prepared to make some initial concessions. There is discussion, at least in the reports that have come from Geneva, that Iran may be prepared to suspend that enrichment for a six-month period. Iran has been quite careful to ensure that its stockpile of this medium-enriched uranium does not go beyond what the Israelis and others have described as a red line.”
According to Reuters News, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in an interview with the state-owned, Arabic-language Al Alam television channel that it is possible in six months to a year negotiations with global powers could be concluded.
“Perhaps within three months or six months we can reach a conclusion regarding the first step,” he said, in remarks that were published on Monday by ISNA news agency.
Iran’s Fear Of Diminishing Power Drives Willingness To Mediate Katerina Dalacoura of The Financial Times concurs that Iran is signaling a willingness to approach the negotiating table, but she asserts it is not entirely a consequence of economic sanctions.
Instead, she contends, it is a combination of sanctions and a fear among the Iranian leadership that it is losing power in the region.
“Iran is slowly but perceptibly losing the struggle for power in the Middle East. The messages it has propagated in various forms since the 1979 revolution are sounding tired and losing popularity at home and abroad. Its attempts to lead anti-western and anti-Israeli resistance fail to excite as they used to,” she argues.
“But Iran’s failing fortunes in the region should not be gauged only in material terms. Its bid for regional leadership has never rested solely on such crude measures. At its core was a self-appointed role as Islamic champion of the anti-western camp, forged in the 1979 revolution. It is on this most crucial ideological front that Iran is losing out.”
As positive as many analysts are, however, many diplomats and government officials are cognizant that there is real reason to doubt its sincerity, including the fact it continues to build centrifuges.