Behind the headline-making talks, subtler forms of diplomacy are laying the real groundwork for Iran’s international future.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Paris earlier this year.
Since negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries (America, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom) commenced on June 26th, there have been missed deadlines and a spate of nervous nail biting as uncertainty reigned regarding the outcome of the talks. But early Tuesday morning, negotiators in Vienna, Austria finally produced a viable nuclear deal. The massive document, still being parsed for details, basically constitutes a promise by Iran to curb any nuclear activities that could contribute to weaponization for at least 15 years. Tehran will allow regular non-proliferation compliance inspections and unprecedented access to state facilities in perpetuity, with heightened monitoring by watchdogs for the next couple of decades. In exchange for this (and a host of other little guarantees), some of the world’s harshest sanctions, ratcheted up on Iran especially over the past decade, will slowly roll back towards normalization.