Nuclear Talks With Iran Progress Under Time Pressure

On Monday, discussions of reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between the United States and Iran continued as Western powers have attempted to reestablish the arms arrangement. These renewed negotiations are the eighth round of such communications, Reuters states, and the latest talks have involved new demands in the developing agreement, which is the work of Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi. Iran has refused to have unmediated talks with the U.S., and instead employs other nations, like China, France, and Russia, to establish a discourse between the two sides. While officials have expressed the desire to reach an agreement by late January or early February of 2022, Iran has denied any attempt to set a deadline.

Despite the renewed conversation, the issue of time still exists as a deal must be reached before interest from both sides diminishes. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated: “I remain convinced we can reach a deal. Bits of progress has been made in the last few days. We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence because if we don’t get an accord quickly there will be nothing to negotiate.” As there is no fixed date or established schedule for completing the talks, countries have expressed worry that Iran will continue to develop their nuclear program — this potential increase threatens the goal of nonproliferation that the U.S. has pursued. If too much growth occurs during the negotiations, the United States might lose interest, thus making time an essential factor in keeping the two countries engaged.

Although the current circumstances remain promising, international entities cannot spend excessive time dwelling on minute concerns. According to Reuters, Western powers have found progress to be slow, making the timeline for negotiating shorter. An increase in the waiting period threatens the viability of the 2015 nuclear deal. Should the United States and other world actors desire the limitation of nuclear activities in Iran, it must be an international effort towards the comprehension of what all sides want, and how it can be provided.

Interest in Iran’s nuclear activities began in 2003 when the International Atomic Energy Agency found that the state had been conducting work to potentially begin producing fissile matter. The Arms Control Association states that these actions continued into 2009. Six external world powers, including the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China, and Russia, all reached a reduction deal with Iran in 2015, which was labeled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In 2018, former U.S. President Trump abandoned the JCPOA nuclear deal, once again imposing sanctions. Iran later responded by violating multiple nuclear limitations from the agreement and developing its armament beyond the restricted measure. This action put pressure on the relationship between the two countries and has made the implementation of previous nuclear restrictions difficult.

Nuclear proliferation has been a targeted concern of international powers for decades. The recent issue involving Iran stands to be a continued source of anxiety for the global community. For all actors involved, diplomatic ties must be established and maintained for the reduction of nuclear matter to occur. The U.S. needs to continue in its willingness to communicate with Iranian leaders, even if the offer is not accepted. Furthermore, all sides need to be open to continued talks for demands to be met. There is a chance that the JCPOA is not recoverable — this does not mean that a separate, alternative deal cannot be developed or pursued. In all considerations, international cooperation must be sought after and maintained for any nuclear deal to be achieved.