Return to the Nuclear Bargaining Table

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Since Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program after talks with various world powers (the U.S., Russia, China, France, England, and Germany) last November, there has been a lot of talk regarding a final nuclear arrangement with Tehran. However, all possibilities of progress may be halted as neither Ayatollah Khomeini or President Obama seemed particularly confident going into a second round of talks this Tuesday in Vienna.

Last year’s interim agreement, reached on November 24th, was supposed to be a stepping-stone in the right direction, one step out of many more to come. Put into effect last month, the accord will be proven useless if this recent high level of skepticism remains on each side. Though Iranian officials have made it clear that they have no intent on reneging the international deal, a crucial question persists. Will either country take the necessary and appropriate measures to implement real change?

After all, compromise is necessary, and both nations must be prepared to look at the facts realistically without resorting to unnecessary military action. As of now, prospects are bleak. The negotiations so far have provided Iran with a strong economic incentive (relief from sanctions), but both Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Rouhani have stated that they will not budge on measures that they deem unacceptable. These measures, unfortunately, might be the very ones that Obama and/or Congress are intent on pushing forward.

Despite proof of initial cynicism, the implications of successful negotiations are still incredibly appealing to both sides. If these talks in Austria turn out well, the outcome will not only be favorable, but will have a lasting impact on the nuclear spectrum in the international arena. But first, for this to happen, all countries involved must approach the bargaining table with an open mind and realistic expectations.


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