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Commentary | 25 November 2014

What’s next for the Iranian nuclear negotiations?

Image of Tarja Cronberg

Tarja Cronberg |Former Member of the European Parliament, Distinguished Associate Fellow at SIPRI

Image of Emily Landau

Emily Landau |Senior Research Fellow, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program, The Institute for National Security Studies, Israel

Image of Lukasz Kulesa

Lukasz Kulesa |Deputy Head of Research, Polish Institute of International Affairs

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

As talks in Vienna end in a further delay in the deadline to agree a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the ELN invites four leading experts to offer their opinions.


Instead of a deal, a risky delay

Tarja Cronberg, former MEP and member of the European Leadership Network

“Hopefully, reason and restraint will prevail and the U.S. Congress will not start yet another war in the Middle East. Possibly a solution can be found where focus on the number and type of centrifuges as is replaced by other means of controlling the peaceful non-military use of technology. Still, on the Iranian side they will have to swallow some of their pride, as a number of centrifuges will have to be dismantled to ensure regional security. And all sides should remember why these negotiations are so important in the first place. After all, a Middle East without nuclear weapons is not such a bad idea.”


Time (again) for Europeans to take the lead

Oliver Meier, Research Associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs

“The time has come to revive Europe’s lead role. The E3 should reclaim the initiative by arguing that requirements for limits on uranium enrichment capabilities be relaxed in favour of more stringent and durable verification and monitoring arrangements for Iran’s nuclear programme. The E3 could also offer to Tehran sanctions relief over and beyond what the Republican-dominated Congress might allow the Obama administration to propose. In return, Iran should be more forthcoming on a clarification of what past efforts it undertook to develop nuclear weapons and stick to its pledge not to produce weapons-grade plutonium.”

Read Oliver Meier’s full commentary here.


Use P5+1 leverage to get a good deal

Emily Landau, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies

“If more pressure is not applied in the coming months (bolstering P5+1 leverage), and more concessions are made by the P5+1 (weakening their leverage), the implication of this latest extension will be to simply delay the inevitable: a bad nuclear deal than enables Iran to remain at dangerous threshold, with the blessing of the international community.”

Read Emily Landau’s full commentary here.


Hope for the best, but prepare a backup option

Lukasz Kulesa – Research Director of the European Leadership Network

“The decision to extend the negotiations on the nuclear agreement with Iran did not come as a big surprise. Long before the November 24 deadline, observers had underlined complexity of the technical details and divergent interests of the parties. On the positive side, no country decided to pull the plug on the talks and move towards its ‘plan B’, which for the U.S. and some of its allies would most likely involve enforcing additional sanctions, and for Iran could mean stepping up work on its nuclear program. Apparently, all sides are satisfied for now with muddling through and leaving in place the Interim Agreement, with constrains on some elements of the Iranian program and modest relief of sanctions.”

Read Lukasz Kulesa’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.