Iran-West talks lead to reticence
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 21
The final round of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue began in Vienna on November 18. It will continue until the decisive date - November 24. "Six" international mediators (Russia, the US, Great Britain, France, China and Germany) and Iran try to resolve the remaining differences on Iran's nuclear program and the procedure for lifting the sanctions.
The talks began with the officials' optimistic statements about the possibility of concluding an agreement for the previously agreed deadline - November 24, but were subsequently followed by less optimistic forecasts.
The talks among US Secretary of State John Kerry, EU coordinator Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif lasted about two and a half hours and ended in Vienna late in the evening on Nov. 20. The consultations will continue today when French and British Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond will arrive in Vienna.
The signing of the final agreement on Iran's nuclear program may be postponed until March, Reuters reported citing the informed sources. At present, it is possible to make a temporary or, at best, a framework agreement, one of the Western diplomats told the agency. It will allow working in the coming weeks and months, said the source.
Such statements are not really encouraging. Within a year-long intensive, almost ceaseless Iran-West negotiations, the sides still could not come to West-acceptable set of rights for Iran's nuclear program, as well as didn't resolve the issue of halting the sanctions which undermined the Islamic Republic's economic situation.
It is worth extending the work on the final nuclear agreement, given that the sides have radically different approaches and vision of this issue? It's possible to assert with certainty, that it's highly unlikely.
It would be strange to expect that after 40 years, Tehran will suddenly abandon efforts to develop nuclear energy. Iran's nuclear program has lived through the changes of political regimes, economic sanctions and wars.
Tehran will not halt its nuclear program. And even if the current Iranian administration headed by President Hassan Rouhani wants to do it,he will not remain in power for long. Realizing this, the administration's representatives all the time state that Tehran has the right to develop its nuclear program.
Amid the final round of negotiations in Vienna, the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran doesn't intend to give in to the P5+1 in the issue of limiting the Arak reactor's operation.
This is the same reactor, which became one of the main "stumbling blocks" in the negotiations.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts believe that the Arak reactor may be used by Iran for production of weapons-grade plutonium. Tehran insists that its program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
After the recent pessimistic reports of the Western media outlets, who, citing the IAEA authoritative experts, said that Iran may posses five times the number of new generation centrifuges than announced earlier, the belief in the solution of the Iranian issue began to shrink quickly.
To make matters worse - a recent IAEA report said IRan doesn't allow inspectors to the facilities, where allegedly secret military works were conducted in the past.
So, it is apparent that by the "cherished" deadline, that is, November 24, Iran and the mediators will not be able to come to any agreement.
The foreign ministers of the countries participating in the talks will gather in Vienna on Nov. 23 where, apparently, an attempt will be taken to resolve the remaining issues, and ultimately extend the deadline for signing a comprehensive policy document on Tehran's nuclear program.
Edited by S.I.
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer
You can follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver