Analysis & Opinions - Woodrow Wilson Center Press

What Next For Iran and the P5+1

| November 2014

In the wake of yet another extension in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, the next step for the United States to move toward a final comprehensive agreement with Iran is to engage with those Iranians it likes the least—the hardliners. Crafting a sophisticated agreement capable of persuading Iranian hardliners and the Revolutionary Guards to accept a final deal is essential to moving the negotiations forward. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his moderate team of negotiators are constrained by the hardliners who, in turn, have nothing to lose if negotiations fail. While the lifting of international sanctions is commonly considered to be the main economic incentive for Iran to agree to a deal, we should be aware that many U.S. sanctions will remain against key hardline actors in the Iranian regime for non-nuclear related reasons. In other words, those hardline elements most opposed to the current talks—the spoilers—are also the ones that have the least to gain from their success. If Rouhani does not get a final deal, however, the moderates are the ones with the most to lose as they have staked their legitimacy on these talks. By engaging the hardliners, and including them in the conversation, the United States can actually strengthen the hand of the moderates and increase the chances for the talks to succeed. It will also allow the United States to discuss its larger concerns about Iran’s role in the region, including the mutual fight against ISIS, energy security, and the possibility to form more inclusive governments in Iraq and Syria.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Mohseni, Payam.“What Next For Iran and the P5+1.” Woodrow Wilson Center Press, November 2014.

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