As Iran and members of P5+1 move closer in signing a nuclear accord with Iran, the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is paramount in monitoring and verifying Iran’s commitments and obligations. According this analysis, “the fact sheet released by the US State Department regarding the Plan of Action places the agency squarely in charge of verification, calling for the agency to, inter alia: have access to both declared and undeclared facilities through Iran’s implementation of an Additional Protocol; provide “continuous” monitoring of the removal and storage of centrifuges; investigate suspicious sites or allegations of covert facilities anywhere in the country; and continue its investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program…..The agency is the only international, technical organization capable of this kind of nuclear stock-taking and verification, and it possesses experience in dealing with extraordinary situations—witness its roles in South Africa and Iraq.”
New WSJ/NBC public opinion pollreveals the continuing support of the American public for diplomacy with Iran.
Even though critics of Obama’s diplomacy have mounted a relentless public campaign to persuade Americans that it is better to put more pressures on Iran in order to force its government to capitulate on its nuclear program, it seems that the American public is reluctant to exacerbate the conflict with Iran: “When given two options, 54% of adults said they think it is important to have an agreement in place with the Iranians, compared with the 37% who believe the emerging framework is too risky and that economic sanctions would be a more effective deterrent to prevent the country from building a nuclear weapon.”
Since his election, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has maintained an optimistic posture on possibilities of a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran—or as he calls it, a win-win deal for all. “I think a final settlement can be achieved … the world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations.” A large group of Iranian civil society activists have added their voice to diplomacy for support for the nuclear deal. A majority of Iranians support nuclear negotiations. Similarly, in a July 2014 public opinion poll conducted by the Program for Public Consultation and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, 61% of Americans favored a nuclear deal with Iran.
With a Nov. 24th deadline looming on the nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1, the stakes for a nuclear deal could not have been any higher for President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Since his election as President in June 2013, he has raised popular expectations that the nuclear dispute will be resolved and normalcy will return to Iran. Although Iranians have seen some improvement, hardliners in the parliament have blocked his programs, and his nuclear initiative is his only savior. However, the nuclear issue and the dispute with the United States is so embedded into the fractured domestic politics of Iran that Rouhani has to navigate the dangerous waters of factional politics very carefully
Reports from Vienna indicate that P5+1, the United States, and Iran have agreed to an extension plan for their nuclear talks. Although Iranians preferred to have a deal by July 20th, it seems that the United States was not able to commit to sanctions relief, and it did not make sense for Iranians to sign a deal without sanctions being lifted. According to one report, “Secretary of State John Kerry said July 15 that there has been “tangible progress” made in marathon Iran nuclear talks underway here, but gaps remain, and he would be returning to Washington to consult with President Barack Obama and Congress about the way forward, including the possibility of extending the talks.” According to another report, “that the sides cannot quite close all the gaps is as much a function of politics as are technical concerns over aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. So much is riding on these negotiations that for either side to give in too quickly would likely be viewed negatively by key constituencies around the world and back home.”