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Commentary | 27 November 2014

Experts cautiously optimistic about Iran deal prospects

Image of Richard Dalton

Richard Dalton |Former British Ambassador to Iran, Associate Fellow at Chatham House

Image of Ali Vaez

Ali Vaez |Senior Iran Analyst, International Crisis Group

Iran JCPOA Middle East Nuclear Arms Control Nuclear Weapons Security Global Security

After the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program in Vienna ended in a delay, two leading experts offer their thoughts and cautious optimist to the European Leadership Network.


After Vienna: obstacles to a deal can be overcome

Sir Richard Dalton, former British Ambassador to Iran

“Three remarks made on 24 November by principals in the Iranian nuclear negotiations stand out: that progress has been made, that some significant gaps remain and that there is a credible path to a successful outcome. All are true. But no one knows whether the political will can be generated in Washington, Tehran and elsewhere to make the final journey down that path.

In order to create confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian programme in future, all the following may have been agreed, or be close to being agreed: full transparency to the highest IAEA standards; limits on the percentage levels of enrichment (set at the maximum needed for power reactor fuel); reduced stocks of enriched material to be kept in Iran; no reprocessing of spent fuel; how to fix the Arak research reactor so it produces minimal quantities of plutonium; how to eliminate the risk that the underground plant at Fordow would be used for enrichment for military purposes; and finishing satisfactorily the IAEA’s work on investigating past Iranian research and development on some potentially military aspects of nuclear technology.”

Read Sir Richard’s full commentary here.


What next for the Iran talks: Reykjavik Redux?

Ali Vaez, Senior Iran Analyst at International Crisis Group

“November 24 will not enter the annals of history as a fateful turning point in Iran’s relations with the West. Twelve months of intense nuclear talks, rather than ending a twelve-year standoff, evolved instead into a seven-month extension. Disappointed observers were quick to draw parallels with the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks. But the analogy is inaccurate, as there is far more political will, on both sides, to resolve the nuclear crisis. Indeed, November 24 has arguably brought greater clarity about both the remaining obstacles and their potential solutions, and more trust.”

Read Ali Vaez’s full commentary here.


The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or any of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security challenges of our time.