My IP Journal latest: “A firm US-EU partnership on Iran came at great cost, and made a deal possible”

EU and Iranian foreign ministers (foto: Austrian Foreign Ministry)

EU and Iranian foreign ministers in Vienna (Austrian Foreign Ministry)

My latest at the IP Journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)US-EU Cooperate on Iranian Nonproliferation:  Agreement positions Tehran as regional leader — IP Journal 14/08/2014 

Although negotiators failed to reach agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by the late-July deadline set last November, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif put it: “We have made enough headway to be able to tell our political bosses that this is a process worth continuing. … I am sure Secretary Kerry will make the same recommendation.” Indeed, Washington, Brussels, and Tehran readily agreed on a four-month extension.

This represents a sea change in tone from the period prior to November 2013, when “red lines” were still being drawn and threats of “all options on the table” reiterated. In stark contrast, there is now no question Iran will be permitted to continue enriching uranium for its domestic nuclear power program and legitimate research ends. Rather, negotiators now argue over what measures are sufficient to guarantee Iran could not “break out” and reconfigure its program to “rapidly” produce a weapon,  and over how long such measures must remain in place. Washington wants any breakout attempt to require a year’s effort and that the restrictions be in force for “double digits” – i.e., at least a decade – not the five to seven years Tehran offers. These are clearly negotiable details, nothing whatsoever like the heated exchanges and threats of attack of the past two decades. And the profound lesson to remember here: This change did not originate in Tehran; rather, its foundation was a costly, new found transatlantic meeting of the minds – and spines.

Realpolitik Costs    (Continue reading at IP Journal – No registration required) 

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