Concerns over Iran nuclear deal are real

Iran's supreme leader, apparently in an attempt to torpedo the emerging consensus in Geneva, has said that there are certain 'red lines' and they need to be respected.

Published: Sun 28 Jun 2015, 10:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:51 PM

Hours before a final nuclear deal is supposed to emerge between the P5+1 and Iran, pressure is building on both parties to play it safe. The Islamic Republic’s legislators took the lead as they surprisingly passed a bill on banning access for UN inspectors to its military sites and scientists, potentially complicating the chances for an accord with the world powers. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamenei, apparently in an attempt to torpedo the emerging consensus in Geneva, has said that there are certain ‘red lines’ and they need to be respected.

That in other words means instant lifting of sanctions when the deal comes into affect and at the same time denying unfettered access to its sensitive installations. This is like putting the cart before the horse, literally denying the room for a thaw. The Iranian legislators, who overwhelmingly approved the bill, were just treading the Khamenei's line, inevitably dropping hints that the government of President Hassan Rohani and the supreme leader are not on the same page.

On the other hand, the who’s who in the US administration have expressed serious concerns at the emerging deal, saying it falls short of meeting the benchmarks of a good agreement with a foreign country. They say the framework under which the talks are being conducted will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon capability in times to come.

Both these developments are likely to bring in more pressure on US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, who are in the vanguard of a possible rapprochement in their checkered relationship. As they meet in Vienna, they will have to ensure that their labour do not go in vain and a détente comes into existence over one of the most contested issues of realpolitik.

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