Iran Talks in a Pressure Cooker
Resistance from Israel, Congress, Iran hardliners imperil return to nuclear deal
In his “Diplomat’s Dictionary,” an urbane compendium of the vocabulary used in the official conduct of international relations, former Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, Jr., includes one wag’s definition of “diplomacy” as “the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”
That pretty much sums up the dynamics of the indirect negotiations now underway between U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna for a mutual return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCOPA.
A successful outcome to the talks would mean Tehran agrees to allow the world’s major powers to restore the JCPOA’s tight leash on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to the crippling economic sanctions that former President Donald Trump reimposed on Tehran after he unilaterally repudiated the accord in 2018. Such a move would once again box in Iran’s nuclear program but allow the Islamic Republic to climb out of its dire economic hole, where the countr…