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
Head of Political Risk at the International Interest.
Co-Founder & CEO of CARPO
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.