Positive signs from Geneva, but nuclear talks with Iran have a long way to go
Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran, is currently in Geneva, participating in nuclear negotiations with the United States, France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany. News of the talks has thus far been positive, though we should remain cautiously optimistic. It is easy to get carried away by imagining the possibilities that a more progressive Iran would have around the globe. Ever since Hassan Rouhani came to office in June 2013, there have been substantial positive vibes concerning his commitment to be more progressive than his predecessor. An example of this is when he and President Obama spoke via the telephone, marking the first time that has happened between the two countries since 1979.
But a nuclear deal will not come overnight as there are a lot of issues still to be worked out. Iran seems willing to decrease its uranium if the international community allows them to continue to be able to enrich. Despite what Iran says the reasons for enrichment are, Israel will remain nervous and has been closely watching these negotiations. I think the root of it all will depend on the reasons that Iran gives for wanting to enrich and the international community’s acceptance of them. Some of the proposed guidelines, if accepted, will signal a new era for Iran, but if rampant skepticism exists in the West about motives, no deal will succeed permanently.Rouhani and Zarif have thus far given much of the international community hope of a possible positive relationship with the rest of the world going forward, something that has not been achieved for some time. There are many reasons to be excited at the possibilities, but geopolitics and built-up skepticism remain two barriers that must be overcome.