Need to Grasp Opportunity of Vienna Talks While Avoiding Haste

Current negotiations on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal are a great opportunity that needs to be used in favor of utmost preservation of the country’s national interests, although any rush should be avoided, according to an expert on international affairs. 
“Besides the need for serious care about the contents of the talks, which must be completely aligned with national interests, the element of time is also of special importance,” Reza Zabih said in an interview with ISNA.
Negotiations are underway in Vienna, Austria, between Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal on how to restore the agreement, which has been unraveling since the United States pulled out and restored sanctions on Tehran, forcing it to scale back its commitments in response. 
The first reason to avoid losing time, according to Zabih, is to prevent a global consensus against Iran. 
“In case the negotiations fail to produce an outcome, the US will try to encourage other sides, especially Europeans and then other countries, to pressure Iran through the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and later through the United Nations Security Council,” he said. 
It is, therefore, essential, he added, that the present opportunity be used while most parties are still on Iran’s side and blame the US as the main culprit for the issues surrounding the deal, which is formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
Time is also important because Iran has not yet taken irreversible steps away from JCPOA, the expert said. 
“If other parties, and the US in particular, continue violating the deal and Iran remains deprived of its benefits, it may have to take measures that are technically irreversible or hard to undo.” 
As per a parliamentary law, the Iranian government was required to suspend the IAEA inspectors’ access to some of its nuclear sites in February. 
However, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran reached an agreement with the agency to enable conditional inspection for another three months to leave room for diplomacy.  
“The new opportunity Iran provided to the JCPOA parties is also nearing its end and the government will have to implement the parliament’s law completely,” Zabih said. 
Another factor that makes the present stage critical is the forthcoming change in Iran’s administration, according to the analyst, as it could interrupt the process of talks.
Iran is holding a presidential election on June 18, in which President Hassan Rouhani cannot run due to term restrictions. 
“The positions of the negotiating sides, which have come closer to some extent, might grow more apart, making an agreement to convince the US to stop its law-breaking take a very long time,” he explained. 
According to Zabih, failure to appreciate the present opportunity may also raise the possibility that Israel intensifies its acts of sabotage and lobbying to prevent the revival of JCPOA.
Although such attempts have so far remained fruitless thanks to Iran’s new trump cards in negotiations and JCPOA parties’ disregard, they will not stop unless the deal is restored, he warned. 
“These reasons together reflect the importance of time, besides other factors, while this does not mean there is a need to hurry or ignore national interests,” the expert concluded.   

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