The Joint Plan of Action agreed upon with Iran on 24 November 2013 gave negotiators one year to forge a comprehensive agreement that restricts the country’s ability to militarise its nuclear programme. That deadline will lapse in the next few days and diplomats involved in the talks have been trying to rein in expectations that a deal will be struck on time.
Satisfying domestic constituencies in Iran and the US is what makes the politics of dealing with the nuclear file so much harder than the physics of slowing down the nuclear programme. Any future deal will have to stand on its own merits, enabling Iran and the EU3+3 to cooperate on the other geopolitical challenges they face. Both parties should therefore balance their demands with what they can realistically offer and make concessions to reach a compromise.
The author of this CEPS Commentary argues that if no deal is reached on November 24th, then diplomacy should be allowed to keep on spinning for a few more months.
Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Head of the EU Foreign Policy research programme.