'Golden moment for win-win resolution in Iranian nuclear talks'
RT:The talks have been extended again, but no new deadline's been set. Why do you think that is?
Kaveh Afrasiabi:I think that is a positive sign that both sides think that they are very close to reaching an agreement. My sources, Iranian sources from Vienna, informed me that Iran is opposed to a longer extension and are optimistic that they can actually wrap it up in the next couple of days. The few remaining issues, there has been so much legwork done on them, that gives hope to such optimism that within the next couple of days we most likely will see some major announcement on reaching the final deal.
RT:EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the discussions have entered a tough, even a 'painful', phase. What part of the potential agreement could she be referring to?
KA: At this stage both sides need to show some flexibility and make compromises to reach this historical agreement. This is not just Iran but also primarily the US, which is the principal party imposing sanctions on Iran and has leveled some excessive demands on Iran. If President Obama is interested in turning this into a major legacy of his administration he will have to show more flexibility and retreat from some of these excessive, and I would say even, illogical demands – case in point, with respect to Iran’s conventional ballistic missiles and inspection anytime, anywhere, which is way beyond any reasonable request that Iran could accede to because of sensitive national security considerations.
RT:You mentioned excessive demands from the West. The West wants a mechanism agreed to allow it to reinstate sanctions if Iran appears to not hold to its part of the deal. Is that an excessive demand?
KA: That is one of the issues that pertain to the text of the UN Security Council Resolution that is being drafted and calls for the removal of sanctions in exchange for Iran’s implementation of its some 12-13 nuclear steps. So there are some disagreements about the language of that text that is being finalized as we speak.
RT:Are we talking about technical, the final details here?
KA: Exactly, but you know this is very complex and technical issue dealing with five technical annexes in addition to the main body of the agreement, covering hundreds and hundreds of nuclear questions. So 8 or 10 remaining questions that have already been narrowed down is not a lot of ground to cover.
RT:Mutual mistrust is apparently one of biggest thorns affecting the negotiations since they began 12 years ago. Will we see any improvement this week?
KA: I think so. Both sides realize that this is a golden moment for a win-win resolution, that there is a unique opportunity for the West after the resolution on this unnecessary nuclear crisis, and there is a great deal of shared interest, vis-à-vis the threat of terrorism, and so forth. Iran is major bulwark against terrorism, and it all needs to be appropriately appreciated. This nuclear deal could be the stepping stone for broader dialogue on regional security and other matters of mutual interest between Iran and the West, not to mention the market relations and the tremendous opportunities that exist.
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