November 28, 2021

Iran nuclear talks will survive presidential vote: Analysts, Middle East News & Top Stories

TEHERAN (AFP) – Iran’s presidential vote next week will likely replace a moderate with an ultraconservative, but this should not derail ongoing nuclear talks because there is a broad political consensus in Teheran that they should succeed, analysts say.

All major players in Teheran, whatever their ideological leanings, are pragmatic enough to know that only by saving the tattered 2015 nuclear deal can the Islamic republic free itself from crippling US sanctions, they argue.

The decision to try to revive the agreement, struck under moderate President Hassan Rouhani, now “transcends factional struggles”, said Professor Clement Therme, a researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

“It is a trade-off, between the survival of the regime through improving the deteriorated economic situation, and the desire to preserve the status quo on the political level,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Analyst Henry Rome of the New York-based Eurasia Group said Teheran appears determined to revive the deal torpedoed by former US president Donald Trump because “for Iran, sanctions relief is a strategic necessity”.

Ultimate political power in Iran rests with the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who gave the green light to both the original agreement with a group of world powers, and to efforts since April to revive it.

The landmark accord offered Iran crucial sanctions relief in return for limits on what it says is a civilian nuclear programme – but it has been on life support since Mr Trump withdrew the United States from it in 2018.

Mr Trump’s economic and diplomatic maximum pressure campaign has plunged Iran into its deepest economic turmoil in decades, and led it to progressively walk back from most of the limits on its nuclear programme.

Mr Trump’s successor Joe Biden has since backed diplomatic efforts to revive the accord, and US officials have indirectly joined talks in Vienna between Iran and the other parties – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

President Rouhani, the architect of the deal, has in recent years weathered heavy criticism from the conservative camp for having trusted the West in negotiating an agreement that Mr Trump then ripped up.

Ultraconservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi, who has pledged to resolve Iran’s economic crisis, is now seen as the front-runner to replace Mr Rouhani in the June 18 election, after many other candidates were barred from running.

Mr Rouhani, who has served the maximum of two consecutive four-year terms allowed under the constitution, remains in office until August, and hopes for a deal in Vienna before then.

A spokesman for his outgoing government, Mr Ali Rabii, also stressed that the election will not change Iran’s basic position in the complex talks.

“The nuclear issue (is the subject) of a consensus within the Islamic Republic,” he said on Tuesday (June 8). “It is therefore not linked to the country’s internal developments and is handled by high-level bodies.”

Iran has suffered badly since Mr Trump’s unilateral US withdrawal and pressure on European parties to also economically isolate Iran.

Rather than enjoying an influx of foreign investment, Iran saw crucial oil sales dry up and was shut out of the international financial system.

The country of 83 million has been battered by galloping inflation and rising unemployment which have stoked repeated waves of unrest on the streets.

Throughout, Iran has stayed in the agreement, even as it has taken steps away from its commitments, such as increasing uranium enrichment and suspending certain inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Now that a Biden presidency promises a chance for a turnaround, Teheran is unlikely to abandon its policy of strategic patience, say analysts.

The Eurasia Group said in a note that Mr Raisi, the likely election winner, “has expressed support for a return to the nuclear accord, and he would very likely follow through on its implementation as president”.

If a deal is not agreed before August, he would probably move swiftly to wrap up negotiations after, hoping to reap significant political benefits from renewed oil sales, access to frozen foreign exchange reserves and revived growth, the Eurasia Group said.

“This would give Raisi a substantial cushion in his first year or two in office.”

in World
Related Posts

Biden to host outgoing Israeli president Reuven Rivlin on June 28, Middle East News & Top Stories

June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US President Joe Biden plans to host Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House on June...

Canada, US heat wave ‘on steroids’ due to climate change, say experts, United States News & Top Stories

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The western United States and Canada would likely have experienced a heat wave in the past week...

Vaccinated US loosens up as summer begins but risks remain, United States News & Top Stories

May 30, 2021

May 30, 2021

WASHINGTON – It is the unofficial start of summer in the United States: Mask mandates are gone and mimosa brunches,...

EU chief defends China deal ahead of US summit, Europe News & Top Stories

June 8, 2021

June 8, 2021

BRUSEELS (AFP) – One of Brussels’ top two leaders has defended the European Union’s efforts to reach an investment agreement...

UK cyber chief Lindy Cameron says ransomware is key online threat, Europe News & Top Stories

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – Professional criminals holding businesses to ransom – often with the support of nation-states – is the key...

Death rate soars as Canada’s British Columbia suffers ‘extreme heat’, World News & Top Stories

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

VANCOUVER (REUTERS) – The Canadian province of British Columbia suffered nearly double the average deaths as temperatures hit a record...

French launch probe into Uniqlo, Zara owner and others over forced Uighur labour, Europe News & Top Stories

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

PARIS (AFP) – French magistrates have opened an inquiry into allegations four fashion groups, including Uniqlo and the owner of...

UN confirms 18.3 deg C record heat in Antarctica, Europe News & Top Stories

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

GENEVA (AFP) – The United Nations on Thursday (July 1) recognised a new record high temperature for the Antarctic continent,...

Ohio Covid-19 vaccine lottery’s US$1 million winner ‘thought it was a prank’, United States News & Top Stories

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

CLEVELAND (NYTIMES) – Ms Abbigail Bugenske, 22, had all but forgotten about her long-shot bid to become Ohio’s next millionaire....

UN calls for independent probe as unrest death toll rises in Colombia, World News & Top Stories

May 31, 2021

May 31, 2021

BOGOTA (AFP) – Colombia’s government resumed negotiations with demonstrators to end more than a month of protests on Sunday (May 30),...

French regional vote marks form of failure for Macron’s party: Interior minister, Europe News & Top Stories

June 21, 2021

June 21, 2021

PARIS (REUTERS) – The first round results of France’s regional elections marked a form of failure for President Emmanuel Macron’s...

Pentagon will not allow pride flags to be flown on US military installations, United States News & Top Stories

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – The Pentagon said on Friday (June 4) that it would not make an exception to allow US...

While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 3, World News & Top Stories

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

Biden hails ‘historic’ rebound as US adds 850,000 jobs in June President Joe Biden on Friday cheered the “historic” US...

Biden consoles Florida families as search of collapse site pauses due to safety concerns, United States News & Top Stories

July 1, 2021

July 1, 2021

SURFSIDE, FLORIDA (REUTERS) – President Joe Biden on Thursday (July 1) pledged federal assistance and offered comfort to the families...

Fatal shooting of 15 people was terrorist attack, says Haiti govt, World News & Top Stories

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (AFP) – Fifteen people were shot to death this week in Haiti, including a journalist and an opposition...