Iran Analysis: The Nuclear Talks --- The Effectiveness of Sanctions, The Effectiveness of Iran's Uranium Enrichment
An EA correspondent offers this assessment of Saturday's "talks about talks" on Iran's nuclear programme, culminating in the agreement between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) to hold a second round of discussions in Baghdad on 23 May:
My quick analysis is that sanctions are working while Iran is making use of the leverage accorded by their abillity to enrich uranium to 19.75%.
The big difference with respect to January 2011, when the last talks between Iran and the European Union went nowhere, is that Tehran's representative Saeed Jalili was dispatched to Istanbul with the order to talk about the nuclear programme --- and he did this from the minute the proceedings were underway.
1) Sanctions are biting, because Iran knows it has to come up with something before 1 July, when the European Union's suspension of oil imports comes into effort. Tehran has to get this scaled back, because the January decision on an embargo has created a veritable chain reaction: Iran is now forced to sell oil to diminishing customers in diminishing quantities.
Any hopes of resurrecting the Islamic Republic's oil export business has to go through the EU. That is not just because of oil but because of the financial arrangements --- Iran needs the block lifted on its transactions through SWIFT, the Belgian-based provider for global transactions.