Analysis & Opinions - Iran Review

Russia and the Future of Nuclear Talks

| August 25, 2010

The launch of the Bushehr nuclear plant will enhance the peaceful nature and legitimacy of Iran's nuclear program at the level of international public opinion and this will give Iran the upper hand in any future talks with the 5+1 group. With Bushehr's launching, Russia has practically conceded that Iran is a nuclear state and this will bring Moscow closer to Tehran in its effort to reap future rewards by means of bilateral nuclear cooperation. This will create a new political atmosphere which gives Iran greater bargaining power in future nuclear talks.

As Iran gains membership to the world's nuclear club, the direction and nature of negotiations will change. In the past, the West's prime aim was for the most part based on bringing Iran's nuclear activities to an overall halt. This time around, however, the focus of the talks will be on the preservation of the domestic fuel cycle capability, insisting upon independent enrichment on Iranian soil. In this respect, the role of Russia will be significant in future talks.

The main reason behind the current standoff between Iran and the West is that the Tehran approach to enriching uranium within the framework of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) aims to develop Iran's domestic fuel cycle capability. Iran strives to connect the different aspects of the fuel cycle and preserving the independent fuel cycle, might be viewed as Iran's trump card in any nuclear talks.

At present, there are three parties involved in the Iranian nuclear dispute: first, the 5+1 group topped by the EU and the U.S.; second, Russia and China; and third, countries such as Turkey, Brazil and various members of the Non-Aligned Movement. In this respect, the Bushehr's launching can be seen as a turning point in the Russian stance towards Iran's nuclear activities....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Barzegar, Kayhan.“Russia and the Future of Nuclear Talks.” Iran Review, August 25, 2010.

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