As the world waits to see if the P5+1 and Iran can, in fact, conclude a comprehensive nuclear deal, it is important to step back from the not just day-by-day, but minute-by-minute coverage of comings and goings at the Palais Coburg in Vienna and think about what is really at stake in the negotiating endgame. To this end, we post here a very good discussion of these issues by Hillary and the University of Tehran’s Seyed Mohammad Marandi on CCTV’s The Heat, see here or click on videos above. (Like Mohammad, Flynt is currently in Vienna for the nuclear talks.)
The most critical of the remaining issues to be resolved by the parties relate to the terms of a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would negate previous Security Council resolutions dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue, remove Security Council-authorized international sanctions against Iran, and formally start implementation of a comprehensive nuclear deal. As both Hillary and Mohammad point out, underneath discussions about the modalities for removing international sanctions, whether and how to lift the conventional arms embargo against Iran, and related matters are more fundamental issues:
–Can the United States, for its own interests, abandon its increasingly self-damaging quest to dominate the Middle East and adopt a more reality-based strategy toward this critical part of the world?
–Can the United States, for its own interests, finally accept the Islamic Republic of Iran as a legitimate political order representing legitimate national interests, and genuinely come to terms with this already indispensable and still rising actor in the Middle East?
–In the process, can the United States, for its own interests, replace its longstanding reliance on Israel and Saudi Arabia as its key “partners” in the Middle East with a more balanced approach characterized by strategically-grounded diplomacy with all major regional players?
Let’s see what happens in Vienna.
—Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett