Iran, world powers on verge of nuclear deal

By: Sara Rajabova

There is still no political understanding between the world powers and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear case though the sides reached the March 31 deadline to ink a political deal.

The negotiating teams from the P5+1 countries and Iran are working hard to find a solution to the issues blocking the way to the deal and meet the deadline. However, the sides also ruled out further extension of the negotiations.

Hamid Ba’idinejad, Iran’s nuclear negotiator said late on March 30 that all the negotiating sides are making serious efforts to bridge the gaps over the outstanding issues, stressing there had been no talk about extending negotiations beyond the March 31 deadline to reach a mutual understanding.

As no more time is left for the talks, some people consider the chances to meet the deadline is not high, especially in the light of developments in the Middle East.

Regional countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and others are anxiously waiting to hear about a nuclear agreement with Iran. They are wary a weak agreement with the Islamic Republic could lead to the country extending its nuclear activities and further strengthening its role in the region, thus threatening the positions of the above-mentioned countries.

Israel, which feels especially threatened by the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran, said details of a possible framework agreement emerging from talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, were even worse than it feared.

However, the negotiating sides remain hopeful they will come to an agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear issue.

Marie Harf, State Department spokeswoman gave the ongoing Iran nuclear talks a 50/50 chance of success as she spoke on progress just hours ahead of the deadline. Harf underscored that all negotiators are realistic about the challenges in front of them, but said they “still see a path to get a political understanding.”

Ba’idinejad said there is the possibility of working out an agreement on basic issues during the present course of talks underway in Lausanne.

Alex Vatanka, an expert on Iran and senior fellow of the Jamestown Foundation told AzerNews that Iran most likely will reach a nuclear deal.

He considers that Iran needs to build confidence with regional states over its nuclear activities.

“But many of its neighbors remain nervous about its intentions. That’s why Tehran needs to quickly look to reach out to regional states such as Turkey and find ways to rebuild confidence across border,” Vatanaka wrote in an e-mail.

The ‘marathon-like’ nuclear talks entered a final day on March 31. The final hours of negotiation in Lausanne are taking place between foreign ministers from the P5+1 – comprising the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini is also present.

Substantive differences that block the final deal are the pace of sanctions relief and the nature of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear research and development.

SOURCE: Azer News