It a little over a week before the November 24th, the date when negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are set to conclude. Attention is focused firmly on Vienna as the world’s most powerful nations and Iran attempt to reach an agreement on the future of the Iranian nuclear program. Key issues include the amount and type of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to maintain, the speed of sanction relief and the nature of inspections.
In a fascinating political tactic, Iran has today announced the agreement of a deal that will see Russian state nuclear power company Rosatom build 8 new nuclear reactors in Iran. It can only bring a smile to your face at the sheer cheek. The provocative move begs the question whether Iran has already given up on reaching a deal with the US.
Obama is now a lame Duck having been crushed at the recent midterms. The Republicans much closer to Netanyahu (the Democrats are still pretty close), and therefore adversarial towards Iran. This act seems to be an indication though Iran has little faith on ability of the US President’s capacity to alleviate sanctions, the key outcome of the talks sought by the Iranians. In fact, many in the US Congress want to see an increase in sanctions against Iran. This could be a timely pre-emptive hedge.
I suspect that Iran is wise to play upon recent political antagonism between the US and Russia to seal this deal. Israel’s credibility is in tatters in around the globe after its actions in Gaza over the summer, and many Europeans are keen to begin trade with Iran. The rest of the world already does. They never really stopped. The time to is fast approaching when we begin to recognise that when it comes to the Middle East, it is the US that has become the isolated actor, and not the Iranians.