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  • Iran Nuclear Deal: The Fine Print

    The November 24, 2013 Joint Plan of Action between Iran and its P5+1 interlocutors is the first agreement since November 2004 that contains Iran’s acceptance of certain short-term limitations on its nuclear programme.

    December 09, 2013

    Ahmed Zahran asked: What is the latest position of the US, the EU, Russia and China on the Iranian nuclear issue, and what are the possible outcomes of the ongoing negotiation?

    S. Samuel C. Rajiv replies: The US, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom (P5) and Germany (the P5+1) are currently giving push to the 'engagement' track with the latest round of talks which began on October 15, 2013 at Geneva. While existing unilateral and multi-lateral (UNSC and EU) sanctions are in place, no additional sanctions are as yet being contemplated as a part of the 'sanctions' track.

    The 'dual-track' policy of sanctions and engagement has till date not shown much progress in modulating Iranian behaviour. It is pertinent to note that in the past, as the nature and volume of sanctions increased, Iranian intransigence correspondingly increased. Iran for instance suspended its voluntary implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol (AP) after its referral to the UNSC in February 2006.

    However, various reports as well as Iranian officials have acknowledged the vulnerable state of the Iranian economy and its currency as a result of trade and oil-related sanctions. President Hassan Rouhani's overwhelming victory defeating candidates like Saeed Jalili (who was the chief nuclear negotiator) has given rise to the strong perception that the Iranian public have rejected the confrontationist approach of the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Government. Supreme Leader Khamenei has also supported the path of dialogue, crucially in a speech to the IRGC commanders in September 2013. With the Obama Administration showing its commitment to the dialogue process, the hopes for progress at the current round of negotiations are huge.

    Possible outcomes could range from Iran signing the IAEA AP, temporarily suspending its enrichment activities, the shipping out of excess quantities of enriched uranium (a possibility alluded to by the Iranian Parliament Speaker) in exchange for graduated sanctions relief, provision of spare parts for its civilian aircrafts, among others in a 'grand bargain'.

    These elements are in the realm of the 'possible' given the unique circumstances surrounding the current negotiations, including Rouhani 'the pragmatist' being in power, Khamenei's support for negotiations, weak state of the Iranian economy, and the positive vibes generated by the renewed interactions between the US and Iran topped by the first telephonic conversation between presidents of the two countries in more than three decades.

    Iranian Nuclear Imbroglio: The Way Forward

    After wining the elections, Hassan Rouhani has insisted that Iran is ‘ready to show more transparency’ over its nuclear programme, but has also affirmed that it has ‘inalienable rights’ to enrich uranium as a member of the NPT.

    August 06, 2013

    Iran under Hassan Rohani: Imperatives for the region and India

    The victory of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani as the President and his accommodative overtures have potentials of driving Iran into a new era of relationship with the neighbourhood as well as with the US.

    July 19, 2013

    Making Sense of the Rouhani Presidency

    The elections in Iran defied most prediction but the Rouhani Presidency is unlikely to see any major changes expect possibly for a change of nuance.

    June 28, 2013

    Iran Elections: And the winner is…

    The presidential elections come at a time when Iran is reeling under the pressure of sanctions and having been isolated in the region with the rise of Sunni Islamism.

    June 13, 2013

    A Missile in the Monkey’s Shadow?

    Iran’s investments in space should not be viewed only through the narrow prism of a nuclear threat but as a nascent attempt to challenge the West’s technological domination.

    January 31, 2013

    Israel Confronts Iran: Rationales, Responses and Fallouts

    Israel Confronts Iran: Rationales, Responses and Fallouts

    This study examines Israel's changing perception of Iran and the underlying reasons for the current Israeli tension, anxiety, verbal acrimony and fears. In deconstructing Israel's fears vis-à-vis Iran, the study looks at Israel's failures to revisit its erstwhile peripheral diplomacy and to make adequate changes.

    2012

    SINAI: The Middle East’s New Hot Spot

    Since the revolution that toppled Mubarak, Sinai has become a no man’s land where jihadists from Egypt and Gaza as well as local Bedouins have begun to engage in militant activities.

    November 30, 2012

    Iran’s Nuclear Enrichment Programme: Is it the only Threat?

    At the core of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme is the challenge to West Asia’s balance of power from Iran’s growing sphere of influence, which now stretches through Iraq towards the Mediterranean.

    November 09, 2012

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