The first set of nuclear negotiations between the Rouhani administration and the P5+1 are upon us.
And if you ask me, the press and some politicians are getting way over excited about them.
Its a first date people, so lets not get into arguments about what the flower arrangements at the wedding should look like.
Personally, I am not expecting much.
But what I will be looking out for in this first session (in particular) will be the following:
From the Iranian side:
- Willingness to discuss curtailment of enrichment levels
- Willingness to discuss shipping out existing levels of 20% enriched uranium.
When it comes to the latter, the Iranian side has said that this is a “red line”. We have to wait and see. I think this is merely a negotiating position. It could change.
If Iran sticks to its position and insists that instead of shipping out, it will turn its 20% enriched uranium to oxide, then we will have problems. Because the Oxide can be turned back to enriched uranium after a 2- 3 week process.
And from the Western side:
If there is a new sanctions relief program on the table, and in return for which steps from Iran ?
Between the two sides, the onus is on Iran to prove that its serious about reaching a deal. Obama has shown and proven this time and again since 2008.