Diplomats familiar with the situation say that the Vienna talks on the Iranian nuclear deal are effectively over, and that the top Iranian negotiator has returned to Tehran for consultations, which are effectively the final decision on making the deal or not. Iran downplayed the consultations, but EU officials say that over the next few days, the real focus is on political decisions. It was a long time getting here, but a deal is within reach, finally.
Exact terms aren’t clear, but its been said to be close, minus a few specifics. Details resolving concerns from Russia were one of the last issues, and it’s not clear what they did about it.
US officials warn there is little time left to make a deal, while French officials say everyone needs to make a deal while they still can, and that delays could risk the position they found themselves in.
Any number of things can come up and derail the talks, with things like the Ukraine War suddenly becoming an issue just because Russia is involved in the talks. There are high hopes in the US that an Iran deal could ease oil prices, something needed as they surge to medium-term highs.
Everything out of the EU nations suggest they’re satisfied, and assuming nothing prevents Russia sanctions getting in the way, they and China should similarly be comfortable. That leaves the decision to Iran, which stands to benefit most from sanctions relief.
Meanwhile Israel is working hard to derail the likely imminent deal. Israeli officials have at times tried to present themselves as neutral to the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, but they also regularly step up to angrily condemn diplomacy and issue calls to action.
Monday was Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s turn, as he called for the world to mobilize against Iran, and said Israeli actions against Iran, including military action, would happen whether or not a nuclear deal was reached. Israeli officials have been saying that for awhile, but it may not be so easy. If Israel indeed attacks Iran unilaterally after a functioning nuclear deal is reached with the P5+1, they’d face a substantial backlash.
Israel has spent decades lobbying against deals with Iran, and agitating for military action. The US has suggested they are on the eve of a deal, and while the Biden Administration has warned Israel against being too hostile to the deal, no one could be surprised at the response so far.