Nasser Kanani, the new spokesman of Iran's foreign ministry. FILE

Nasser Kanani, the new spokesman of Iran's foreign ministry

Iranian Pundits Voiced Optimism As Doha Talks Began

6/29/2022

As indirect nuclear talks were taking place between Tehran and Washington on Tuesday, Pundits in Iran sounded a bit more optimistic about a nuclear deal.

The optimism was reflected in the foreign exchange market with the rial gaining some of its lost ground, trading at 307,000 to the dollar, up from 320,000 just days earlier.

In a commentary Tuesday in reformist Shargh newspaper entitled “Good Agreement-Bad Agreement”, former diplomat Javid Ghorbanoghli pointed out that Iran has realized the value of restoring the deal, officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It would be the least costly solution to the current dire economic situation in the country and the mounting criticism of the government for failing to address the problems, he added.

Ghorbanoghli said President Ebrahim Raisi must explain what concessions he has managed to get from the opposite side in the talks in comparison with his predecessor Hassan Rouhani to be able to call his deal a “good agreement” as opposed to a “bad agreement”.

The biggest reward to be given to Iran for agreeing to a deal is probably allowing it to reenter the global oil market and access the proceeds of oil exports, Yousef Molaei, former professor of international relations at Tehran University, who has always insisted that the restoration of the JCPOA is inevitable, wrote in a commentary entitled “Rays of Hope Becoming Brighter” in reformist Arman-e Melli newspaper Tuesday.

Molaei argued that Europeans who want to avoid buying oil from Russia convinced Americans on the one hand, and Iranians on the other, to return to the talks and finalize an agreement.

In an interview with Arman-e Melli Tuesday, Sabbah Zanganeh, international relations expert, expressed hope about restoration of the JCPOA and stressed the role of the energy crisis in the decision of the United States and European powers to restore the nuclear deal with Iran. He also said Saudi Arabia which opposed the deal has concluded that it can no longer try to delay it. Russia could also benefit from the deal because of its role in Iran’s nuclear projects and construction of its nuclear power plants.

The reformist Etemad newspaper, however, warned that restoration of the JCPOA could only serve as a temporary solution to problems and quickly become ineffective if a new strategy is not drawn to solve the fundamental problems that the Iranian society is currently facing.

Influential political factions that have always staunchly opposed a nuclear deal may try to prove that there will be no positive changes, and everything will continue as before. In order to show their power they may resort to taking actions in foreign arenas that shift tensions from the nuclear issue to other matters, Etemad wrote in its unattributed commentary Tuesday.

The commentary added that the same forces may increase cultural and social pressure on ordinary people to cause disillusionment with the restoration of the deal or the government may give up economic reforms and resort to handing out money to people to overcome their dissatisfaction and buy their support.

Iranian officials and hardline media such as the IRGC-linked Javan newspaper, however, have been underlining that the Qatari-brokered talks still did not involve direct negotiations with the American side.

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