In his recent interview with AP, Ayatollah Khamenei’s top foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati stated that Iran will be changing its tone and language with the West. He also went on to say that:
“Tehran will never again suspend its nuclear activities.”
In my opinion, this is just a trial balloon by the Iranian government, in order to see what kind of a reaction it would receive from the West.
Reality is likely to be very different. The Iranian leadership tries very hard to put on a tough image. This is understandable. No one wants to start negotiations looking like the weaker party. This explains why Velayati also stated:
“If you have a country, like Iran, with 15 neighbors, you can’t impose effective sanctions. We could find solutions to make these sanctions useless”.
Despite a major PR effort by the regime to say that “Iran does not give in to pressure”, with Iran’s economy in deeper trouble every day, the West should be ready for compromises from Iran. The days of just the P5+1 offering compromises like the last round of talks in Almaty while Iran stands still are over.
The Iranian regime is rational and calculating. It knows its limits, which is why it continues to convert its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to oxide. This is a positive gesture as this process puts parts of its enriched uranium temporarily beyond use for making a bomb.