Iran Nuclear Talks: Between Optimism and Caution

Date: 16 February 2021

Time: 17:00 - 18:30 GMT

            18:00 - 19:30 CET


Dr. Cinzia Bianco

Gulf Research Fellow at he European Council
on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

Dr. Andreas Krieg

Lecturer at the School of Security Studies and Fellow
at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at Kings
College London.

Sami Hamdi 

Head of Political Risk at the International Interest.

Adnan Tabatabai

Iran analyst
Co-Founder & CEO of CARPO


Neva SadikogluNovaky

Public affairs & Communications Professional

Speakers Brief:

With the advent of a Biden administration in Washington, there has been renewed optimism over the prospect of renewed negotiations with Iran over its nuclear capabilities. However, the road to new negotiations remains fraught with challenges as Europe, Washington, and Iran all disagree over the starting point for talks. While Europe and Washington have called for a return to the 2015 JCPOA agreement, Iran has adamantly asserted that there should be fresh negotiations to secure a new deal as Tehran seeks compensation for the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement and its subsequent maximum pressure policy. Where Europe has called for Iran to at least curb its nuclear enrichment to within the terms of the 2015 agreement, Iran’s hardliners have urged caution over offering any compromise without the US first lifting sanctions in exchange as a goodwill gesture after the collapse of the last agreement.

The problems have been compounded by calls to include rival Saudi Arabia in the talks which Tehran has rejected on the basis that they were not party to the original talks, and that Riyadh was a firm supporter of Trump’s withdrawal from the initial deal. Saudi Arabia in turn has argued that any negotiations with Iran should seek to curb (rather than recognize) Tehran’s expansive influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. 

However, amidst the distrust and complications, there have also been positive developments. Qatar has announced that it is prepared to mediate between Tehran and the Gulf states. Iran’s Supreme Leader has openly backed the prospect of talks with the Biden administration. The EU, who have long been advocates for dialogue with Iran, have signaled that they are fully committed to reaching a deal. The Middle East Dialogue Centre welcomes you to this discussion that will seek to explore the extent to which the parties can overcome these challenges, the dynamics that will govern the prospective negotiations, and the impact that the talks and their outcomes might have on the region.


How can Europe address the challenges it will face while trying to renew the negotiations with Iran? And how can Europe secure a viable deal that can last?

Our Moderator Neva SadikogluNovaky introducing the discussion and the panelists.

#Qatar has always been very supportive of the #JCOPA & never though it’s a good idea to withdraw from the #deal unlike some of its neighbours “ says Dr @andreas_krieg

Dr @andreas_krieg : #Qatar has a special pragmatic win-win relation with #Iran causing frictions in the region. The #GulfCrisis was among the results of this approach, but trust btw Iran & Qatar is still lacking !

@andreas_krieg :  says that for Qataris any escalation btw #Iran-#US will affect Qatar's security…So #Qatar is looking to engage Iran in a “TransGulf” framework …an idealist project that Saudi and Emirati will not embrace at this moment …  

@SALHACHIMI : "The only way you can facilitate dialogue between the #US & #Iran with regard to issues as #Yemen and #Iraq is to acknowledge the various established power structures US military presence or Iranian militias

@SALHACHIMI : “ the reason why Europe has been ineffective so far on many of the regional issues is because Europe doesn’t look at the region as the US do… #EU looks at the idealistic concepts. #EU must look at the region as it is!

To resume: #Qatar as interlocutor ….it is more about trying to establish a communication link between the #GCC and #Iran , says @andreas_krieg.

Starting Q&َA session with the Israeli role and #normalization between Israel & Arab states in the #IranNuclearDeal..

With regards to its statements on #Iran, the Israeli position has been more explicit in the past couple of years, says


@SALHACHIMI: Israel will not be a deciding factor for US while pursuing a #deal with Iran ! Another sentiment: NO guarantee that any #deal that get signed with #Iran stands a far greater chance of lasting than the one signed before !

Normalization deals with #Israel changed the narratives in #EU policy cercles, national parliaments & officials reconsidered their thinking about #UAE. The #normalization aimed to strengthening UAE’s position in Washington but also in Europe ! says @Cinzia_Bianco

@Cinzia_Bianco : added : "European Union made clear that #normalization is divided from the #PeaceProcess ! The right for Palestinian for their own state will come first. For #EU normalization is important for the stabilization in the region !

Our Moderator @NevaNovaky interestingly raised the question of #COVID19 impact on the Iran talks dynamic.... 

@SALHACHIMI :  a successful #deal is not necessary reaching a comprehensive deal on security or nuclear activities but one where tangible steps are taken with a framework of dialogue & bringing relief to the Iranian people suffering from #COVID19 + #sanctions

@A_Tabatabai pointed out the positive solidarity among some Gulf countries at #COVID outbreak: Kuwait allocating funds & Qataris offered its cargo fleet for free to flight medical equipment into #Iran + #UAE important support. It won't be forgotten...

Concluding with positive observations from @A_Tabatabai : “A far-right elected government in June will not necessarily mean the end of #JCPOA, the approach might change, the willingness to give concession lower + tougher position but #IranNuclearDeal will survive the transition”

Raising hands

Thanks to our Moderator @NevaNovaky  for this very interactive session on #IranTalks and to our 


for today’s rich and thought-provoking discussion. Thanks to our virtual audience for your participation !