Iran: Time for talks almost up
As another round of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiations kicks off in Vienna, negotiators seem to have reached breaking point. The ninth round of talks looks to be shaping into the final round, with an outcome expected later this month.
While the eighth round of discussions was the most productive (during which steps to limit Iran’s nuclear programme were explored alongside pathways to lifting sanctions), many thorny issues remain. The slow pace of the talks and the rapid development of Iran’s nuclear programme are causes for concern among the US and its partners. Although both sides have recently demonstrated gestures of goodwill, these may be too little, too late.
Sanctions relief remains a priority for the administration in Tehran. Yet although robust economic growth is crucial for Iran’s GDP, this may not be enough to prompt hardliners to make the necessary concessions for reaching a resolution.