Jul 23, 2014, 9:49 AM
News Code: 2732128
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Iran gains in Vienna: Iran Daily

Tehran, July 23, IRNA - 'Iran Daily' on Wednesday believes that the Iranian nuclear negotiators have so far been successful and deserve to be appreciated.

The negotiating team should draw up a time table to prevent the accumulation of unresolved issues for the final days of the four-month deadline. If the other party budges on its stance and put aside its excessive demands, a win-win agreement will be within reach, added the English-language daily in its Opinion column.

After three days of intensive talks and at the end of a long night, Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China plus Germany) agreed to extend the Geneva agreement, known as the Joint Plan of Action, for another four months in order to reach a comprehensive deal to end the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The sixth round of nuclear talks since the landmark interim Geneva deal, which was reached in November 2013, began on July 2 continued for 18 consecutive days. This round was the most difficult phase Iran and the six world powers went through. At the start of the negotiations, both sides made little progress. They managed to settle many issues, though several serious disagreements remained due to the excessive demands of the West, especially the US.

The latest round showed that the biggest problem preventing the settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue is the US not the international community. The presence of US Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna for three days, while none of his counterparts from the group was available, clearly indicated that Washington is the key player in the talks.

The marathon talks created a new atmosphere for Iran in the international arena and led to the total removal of unwritten diplomatic sanctions against the country. During the past six months Iran witnessed a flurry of foreign diplomatic delegations seeking to improve political and economic ties with the Islamic Republic.

During this period, parts of sanctions imposed on the nation were lifted, no new set of sanctions were slapped and Iran got access to some of its frozen assets. These were also gains Iran reaped thanks to the efforts of the incumbent government.

More important than these gains is the change in the world public opinion towards Iran which demonstrates that the Islamic Republic is a responsible and accountable country which seeks to attain its nuclear rights with transparency.

Undoubtedly, the break in the alliance of Western countries against Iran was a great gain achieved during this time and a long-term deal could be made if there are no excessive demands from the West.

It is very difficult and almost unlikely to resolve a decade-long dispute in a short time, but Iran and the P5+1 managed to learn about their concerns following several rounds of talks. Reaching a mutual understanding and taking measures that both sides agree upon is the key to success during the upcoming 4 months.

A key and effective point in the new rounds of talks is that US President Barack Obama badly needs a long-term agreement with Iran in order to use it domestically and for the upcoming presidential election to save the Democrats.

Moreover Washington needs Iran’s experience to resolve regional issues.

It should not be forgotten that US foreign policy has suffered heavy defeats in various areas. The European Union is grappling with numerous problems and is not willing to deprive itself from Iran’s market and the country’s influence on the region.

These positive factors raise hopes that both sides can clinch a comprehensive deal at the end of the four-month period.

The upcoming talks are as tough as the previous ones since the Israeli regime, hawkish American lawmakers and congressmen will spare no effort to sabotage the negotiations, noted the paper.

It concluded by stressing that the resolution of the remaining issues heavily depends on the goodwill of the other party to recognize Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy and not on negotiating tactics.

*Hamid Reza Asefi, writer of this article, served as Foreign Ministry spokesman during the tenure of former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami.