New Yorker analyst: The collapse of nuclear talks unlikely

Hooman Majd
Hooman Majd

Hooman Majd, an Iranian-American journalist, says that a comprehensive nuclear accord would serve the interests of both sides and its possible failure would be to their detriment.

The November 24 deadline is upon us and the negotiations are reaching the hours of truth, with the two sides saying some gaps remain unfilled. There is a growing possibility that yet another interim agreement is concluded and talks are extended for a couple of months. Failure of the talks still remains an option, albeit not strong enough to be a factor in the calculus of Iran or the West.

Fars News Agency (FNA) filed an interview with Hooman Majd, a New York-based Iranian-American writer and journalist, on Monday November 24 on speculations over the nuclear negotiations and the slim chance of the talks breaking down.

Majd, who is an analyst with the New Yorker, said that chances for the talks to fail are slight and that the [positive] effects of a possible deal are of great importance for both Iran and the West. The following is a partial translation of what Majd had to tell FNA:

Parties to the talks are trying to clinch an agreement which could appease the critics.

For the time being, it is impossible to predict the result of the talks, because even the negotiators don’t know if they could ink a final deal. What is certain, though, is that both the US and Iran want to reach an agreement they could defend in the face of criticism. Another point is that neither party is willing to give in to what the other side is calling for.

A deal seems more likely to be concluded thanks to a strong political will on both sides following intense talks. It remains to be seen if the negotiators could strike a comprehensive accord or they agree to the framework of a deal and leave the details for future talks. I think the chances of reaching one of these two are more than 50 percent and the odds of a breakdown are less than 20 percent.

An agreement will carry weight for the two sides. It would mean the West’s regional interests can be put in order and the two countries can cooperate in areas of mutual interest and reduce tensions.

Whether a possible deal could mark the beginning of a thaw in US-Iran relations remains to be seen, but it could produce positive economic and political results for Iran. It will also boost the legitimacy of the Iranian establishment at home and abroad and will open the door to broader efforts to effectively deal with problems the region is facing.

If talks end inconclusively, the two sides will face dire consequences. Iran will probably be hit with more sanctions and isolation. As for the US, it will face obstacles in its efforts to stabilize the region and support its allies.

If so, tensions will mount and the specter of a war or conflict will continue to hover over the region. The total breakdown of the talks is the worst-case scenario one can imagine.

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