Will the next round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program produce any results?

Artak Barseghyan

The next round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program is scheduled for February 26. The six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – will hold a meeting with Iranian negotiators in Almaty. Can any progress be expected in the talks, which have not produced any results so far? Experts from Russia, Armenia and Kazakhstan are rather pessimistic about the perspectives. They are unanimous in the opinion that this round will be unproductive, like the previous ones.

Senior Researcher at the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Vladimir Sazhin said at Yerevan-Moscow-Astana space bridge that the there are considerable differences between the approaches of the parties.

According to him, the mediators demand from Iran to stop the enrichment of uranium, which is unacceptable to Tehran, which, in turn, is modernizing its technical facilities. Besides, Iran will hold presidential elections on June 14, as a result the country will have a new President, as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not eligible to run in the elections. According to the Russian expert, one should not expect any abrupt steps on the part of Iran ahead of the presidential vote.

Director of the Institute for Caspian Cooperation Sergey Mikheev noted that there is lack of trust between the parties to the negotiations, which prevents the sides from reaching any concessions. Iran’s nuclear claims are alarming especially to the West, for which the ruling elite of Shia Muslims is quite unacceptable, Sergey Mikheev said.

Georgy Dubovtsev of the National Defense University of Kazakhstan noted that Washington’s anti-Iran rhetoric has considerably reduced in the recent period, which inspires hope that the United States has reviewed it’s program of large-scale military aggression against Iran. He added that the re-start of negotiations after a long break is already positive.

“Any negotiation means that there will be no war and the parties will still try to examine each other’s positions,” said Vardan Voskanyan, Deputy Dean of the Oriental Studies Department at the Yerevan State University.

According to the Armenian scholar, Iran’s nuclear program is just a proper occasion to exert pressure on Iran and make the current authorities capitulate.

“The real progress in the talks depends on the next President of Iran,” Head of the Center for Political Research of the “Noravank” Foundation Sevak Sarukhanyan declared.

The experts believe that the progress in the talks depends on the normalization of relations between the United States and Iran. Sevak Sarukhanyan noted that in case of possible war against Iran Azerbaijan cannot avail itself of the opportunity to attack Armenia. According to him, in that case Azerbaijan’s losses will be even greater, as hundreds of thousand of Turkish-speaking refugees will penetrate into Azerbaijan.

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