Sunday,23 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)
Sunday,23 September, 2018
Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Towards a final deal with Iran

US and Iranian representatives are meeting on the sidelines of the Non-Proliferation Conference in New York to reach a final deal on Iran’s nuclear programme, reports Camelia Entekhabifard in New York

Al-Ahram Weekly

Between 27 April and 22 May, 190 governments, many of them represented at the ministerial level, will be taking part in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference at the United Nations in New York in order to address the implementation of a treaty that contains a legally binding commitment by the nuclear-weapons states to pursue nuclear disarmament.

However, while the NPT is a serious and important subject, more attention has been paid to the statements of Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif and his nuclear negotiation team who are in New York at the same time meeting their American counterparts.

Iran’s name, which in the past year-and-a-half has been associated with the nuclear talks with the western powers, has been making headlines around the globe, giving a sense that the world’s peace and stability is connected to the country regardless of other events.

On 27 April, US Secretary of State John Kerry walked inside the Iranian ambassador’s residence in New York for the first bilateral talks with Zarif since the two men last met in Lausanne and reached the Framework Agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.

It seems the nuclear talks have paved the way for Iran and the US to address their concerns directly and without the intermediates or third parties that used to act on their behalf.

However, their contact has been limited, and many issues remain on the table for them to address, meaning it may still be difficult to reach a final agreement by the deadline in late June.

Thus far it seems that trust has been built between the two nations and they are confident that the final agreement will be doable, helping them to have conversations about other matters, such as Yemen, as mentioned by Kerry.

During his speech at the UN on Monday on the opening day of the NPT Conference, Kerry said the world was closer than ever to a deal with Iran.

“If finalised and implemented, [an agreement] will close off all of Iran’s possible pathways to the nuclear material required for a nuclear weapon and give the international community the confidence that it needs to know that Iran’s nuclear programme is indeed exclusively peaceful,” Kerry said.

The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukio Amano, who is also in New York for the conference, told Al-Ahram Weekly on Monday that “unanswered questions” (by Iran) were not a precondition that would prevent a final deal.

He meant that the two remaining questions from the IAEA that have not been answered by Iran would not jeopardise the comprehensive deal.

If the western powers have reached the conclusion that for the world’s peace and safety a nuclear deal with Iran is necessary, then nothing can stop such a deal taking place, including the opposition of the US Congress and the Israeli prime minister.

Exactly two months remain for Iran and the world powers in the P5+1 group of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran and sign a document of which all the details were outlined in Lausanne a month ago.

The Framework Agreement was agreed on 4 April, and despite differences in its interpretation, especially over the lifting of the sanctions against Iran, the talks are ongoing simply because the Agreement is needed.

Probably the last two months have been even more important than previous months of intense negotiations with Iran. However, in this transitional time in which Iran and the US are in a limbo of an agreement or no agreement by the late June deadline, they have to be careful about various external factors.

Members of the relevant delegations in New York began drafting the agreement today on the sidelines of the NPT Conference, which will continue for a month. 

But Zarif, who was supposed to address the conference for the second time on 28 April, cancelled his speech for unknown reasons.

On the opening day of the conference he was the first speaker and addressed the audience at the UN on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He was then supposed to address the conference on behalf of Iran on the second day, but changed his plans at the last minute.

Being too busy could have been one reason for the cancellation. But wanting to keep himself out of the public eye in New York may have been another for his cancelling his remarks at the NPT Conference.

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