Iran and G5+1

Iran’s relations with the West underwent a drastic deterioration as the country developed its nuclear program. The West regarded Iran as a threat to the region, and tried to persuade it to abandon its nuclear operations; However, Iran has consistently claimed that its nuclear operations are being carried out for peaceful means but the tension between the West and Iran reached its peak during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. With harsh statements against the US and Israel, Ahmadinejad at various points brought the parties to the threshold of war. Bilateral tensions were reduced and harsh statements were replaced with mutual goodwill with the election of Hasan Rouhani as the new President in August 2013; As a result, a 6-month interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program was signed between Iran and the G5+1 countries (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in Geneva. According to the deal, Iran was to suspend its nuclear programme to a significant extent, dispose of its 20% enriched uranium, and resume uranium enrichment activities only at a rate of 5% and in return, the international community would reduce the sanctions around $7 billion.
On 24 November 2013, a joint plan of negotiations was formulated by the G5 group. The goal for these negotiations was to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. On its part, Iran reaffirmed that under no circumstances would Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. In the joint plan, it was stated that Iran would fully implement the agreed transparency measures and enhanced monitoring. It would ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Majlis (Iranian parliament) and it was also decided that Include international civil nuclear cooperation, including among others, on acquiring modern light water power and research reactors and associated equipment, and the supply of modern nuclear fuel as well as agreed R&D practice.
The second round of nuclear talks between Iran and the Group 5+1) was held at the level of deputy foreign ministers in Vienna on 19 February 2014. The second meeting was presided jointly by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and EU Foreign Policy Deputy Chief Helga Schmidt. The two sides exchanged views within the frameworks of the agenda prior to the final rounds of negotiations. The next round of talks was held in March 2014 and the main issues discussed pertained to enrichment and heavy water reactor in Arak, along with peaceful nuclear cooperation. EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton described the talks as “substantive and useful”, which covered a set of issues “including uranium enrichment, the Arak reactor, civil nuclear cooperation and sanctions. One of the prominent parties in the talk, Germany too has expressed its satisfaction over the constructive potential of the ongoing Iran –G5+1 talk. After the talks in March and April, Martin Schaefer, a spokesperson on behalf of the German Foreign Ministry stated that the path to a concrete and detailed negotiation towards the common objective of a lasting peaceful nuclear accord with Iran. Schaefer also welcomed the high profile Iran visit of European Union foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton.
In the recent rounds of talks held in July 2014 in Vienna, further progress towards resolving the Iran nuclear issue proceeded in a positive direction with the United States deciding to unfreeze $ 2.8 billion dollars in funds to Iran. This is an indication of the growing success of the role of G5+1 and also reflects positively on Iran’s commitment for devising a peaceful nuclear program. Michael Mann, the spokesman for the EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, announced that Iran and the Group 5+1 are trying hard in their talks in Vienna to close the existing gaps. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Majlis (Parliament) national security and foreign policy commission also said that Iran was willing to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal. Further, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany agreed on the extension of talks until November 24 with a view to achieving a permanent deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
In what could be a significant and positive development, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its recent report has confirmed Iran’s commitment to the interim deal it struck with the Group 5+1. The IAEA’s report which was revealed on 20 July 2014 showed that Iran had met the terms of the six-month agreement, under which it limited its atomic activities in exchange for some easing of sanctions. Moreover other developments also indicate that Iran is pursuing the commitment to the Geneva terms. It cannot be denied that improvement of international atmosphere has caused foreign companies to express willingness to increase their investment in Iran’s oil industry. It is also significant that Head of the Association of Russian Employers and Industrialists Alexander Shukhin in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanayee demanded increased cooperation and interactions with Tehran in various industrial fields.
The G5+1 have shown significant constructive potential in solving the Iran nuclear crisis and improving Iran’s relationship with the West. Perhaps, the best way for dialogue with the Iranian nation is through respecting and trying to reach mutual understanding with them.

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