Belated Attention by Media - Preparing Ground for Failure?
“The Geneva deal has provided an opportunity for us to reach a final deal; however, even if we don’t reach an agreement … no catastrophe will happen.”
Araqchi also singled out the level of uranium enrichment, Arak heavy water reactor, and timetable for the agreement’s expiration date and the process of sanctions relief as issues still under negotiation, adding, “divisions still remain on some of these issues, but we have narrowed our differences on some others.” (Press TV, 21 August)
The belated attention by the country’s state-run media to Araqchi’s comments probably indicates that the government through its messaging is preparing the public for the real possibility of the failure of the talks, as well as warning P5+1 of its readiness to stand its ground on contentious issues, especially its future enrichment capacity.
Rouhani was elected president a year ago partly on a campaign promise of ending sanctions through negotiations with the West. In his first months in office, Iran indeed signed an interim nuclear agreement with P5+1, which although offered only minimal sanctions relief, but raised hope among the public and in the markets of an imminent comprehensive deal to close a dark period of anti-Iran sanctions and anti-Western sloganeering. The national currency rial stabilized and foreign investors visited the country in droves preparing ground for their return when a final deal were reached.
The failure of Vienna talks to produce a comprehensive agreement by its original 20 July deadline was not the news the public was expecting. The extension of the deadline to 24 November, which meant the interim accord was still in effect, did prevent the markets in Iran from overreacting to the delay. But the failure of the talks by the November deadline will change that; hence Arachi’s comments and the attention by the media to discount that future now, in the hope that both the public and the markets will interpret the failure as “no catastrophe.”
There are still three months left for the two sides to strike a deal, and three months in politics, especially during these turbulent times in the region, is an eternity. Long enough for the negotiators to come to an agreement and for the political leaders to accept it as the best bad option available.
File photo: Foreign ministers of Iran and six world powers and EU after signing the interim nuclear accord in Geneva, 24 November 2013. (IRNA/Press TV)