The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
Progress Expected but Breakthrough Unlikely in Iran Nuclear Talks, Analysts Say
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani speaks to the press in front of the Palais Coburg, venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action meeting that aims at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna on Dec. 27, 2021. (Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images)

Progress Expected but Breakthrough Unlikely in Iran Nuclear Talks, Analysts Say

Tehran pushing for early lifting of sanctions as negotiations in Vienna enter eighth round

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are unlikely to lead to a major breakthrough, analysts told The Media Line, although some progress could be made.

Talks are being held in Vienna over resurrecting the 2015 deal struck between Iran and the world powers to rein in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. The eighth round of the revived talks began this week.

“The tone of negotiators from both sides … is kind of more positive compared to previous rounds so there is maybe some hope for progress,” said Hamidreza Azizi, a fellow with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin who focuses on Iran.

Iran’s foreign minister said that an agreement in the near future is possible, while the EU said only that there should be “a positive result.”

A Russian official at the talks, which started on Monday, tweeted that there was “indisputable progress” and “result-oriented discussions.”

However, the US has been more cautious in its tone.

“There may have been some modest progress during the course of the last round of talks, but it is in some ways too soon to say how substantive that progress may have been. At a minimum, any progress, we believe, is falling short of Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps and is far too slow,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Azizi told The Media Line that the biggest obstacles in reaching a deal come down to timing and guarantees.

The tone of negotiators from both sides … is kind of more positive compared to previous rounds so there is maybe some hope for progress

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement that was made under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. were also part of the deal.

Iran has continued to develop its nuclear program, insisting it only wants to use nuclear technology for nonmilitary purposes.

Tehran now wants reassurance that the US will not renege on a deal when there is a change in presidents.

“It’s justified but it’s not realistic, of course, because there’s no actual way for any kind of agreements,” said Azizi.

There also is disagreement on when sanctions against Iran should be lifted and Tehran has been trying to make the resumption of oil exports a key focus in negotiations.

After the US withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, it put sanctions back on Iran, badly hitting its economy and especially the key oil sector which faced a major drop in exports.

Tehran has argued that sanctions should end before it takes action on its nuclear program, but Washington insists the sanctions should only be lifted once limits have been placed on Tehran’s nuclear program.

“The economy is in really bad shape and Iran really needs a deal in order for the sanctions to be lifted and for Iran to have normal economic interactions with the world,” Azizi said.

Iran refuses to meet directly with US officials, frustrating Washington and putting the EU in a leading role in the negotiations.

“The European Union has been acting as a mediator between Iran and the United States,” said Azizi, who added that Vienna is seen as a more neutral setting than some other European capitals.

Both sides are desperate to find some sort of solution out of this crisis

Ryan Bohl, a Middle East and North Africa analyst with RANE/Stratfor, told The Media Line that there was a lot of optimism at the beginning of the year when US President Joe Biden came into office but that decreased when hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi came to power and introduced tougher demands.

Domestic politics in the US are also making it more difficult to arrive at an agreement.

Bohl said there is bipartisan pressure on Biden to come up with a deal that will be acceptable to Israel, which has been against the agreement.

Israel has argued for a tougher stance against Iran and has said it would not allow the country to have nuclear weapons.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said of Iran’s nuclear program: “Certainly we prefer to act through international cooperation, but if necessary we will defend ourselves, by ourselves,” The Associated Press reported.

The EU has warned there are “weeks, not months” to come to an agreement as Iran continues to build its nuclear program.

Despite these challenges, Bohl said there was optimism that progress will be made since neither the US nor Iran wants to enter a war.

“Both sides are desperate to find some sort of solution out of this crisis,” Bohl said.

“The devil then breaks down to the details. Even though strategically both sides are driven towards coming up with a compromise, it’s who compromises first and how much that’s hanging so many things up,” he said.

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.