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The Iran nuclear talks headed into overtime. Iran out-negotiated the US, says expert Mark Dubowitz. In an interview with DW, he explains why no deal might be better than a bad one.
DW: Mr. Dubowitz, nuclear talks in Vienna are headed into overtime. Do you think there will be a comprehensive deal between the P5+1 and Iran?
That sounds like Iran would be the only one profiting from that deal. How do you see it?
Iran came in with a very weak hand under punishing sanctions, multiple UN Security Council resolutions, internationally isolated. And in less than two years they completely flipped the table on the P5+1.
Their strategy was to hold to their positions: refuse to compromise on major demands, that their program be dismantled, that their long range ballistic missile program be ended, that they suspend all enrichment and that they resolve all outstanding questions relating to the military dimensions of their program and then also give full unfettered anywhere anytime access to all facilities.
They stuck to their demands and rejected the US requirements. And so they really came in as a third rate power negotiating with a super power and ended up negotiating like the super power - quite a remarkable achievement for this country.
Following your line of argumentation, how did Iran manage to out-negotiate the US?
The Iranians achieved that by doing something very clever. In the beginning of the negotiations they said if you pass new sanctions, if you increase the pressure on us in any way, we will walk away from the table. If we do so we will escalate our nuclear program. You will only have one choice: use military force to stop our nuclear expansion. President Obama, we know you won´t use military force. In fact we know you won´t even use crippling sanctions. So you won´t walk away from the table. And even if you do you will quickly come back because you are passionately, fundamentally, ideologically committed to compromise for doctrine and transformation.
But isn´t compromise a basic part of every negotiation?
But compromise doesn't mean acceding to most of the demands of the other side, especially when that side is in flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions for pursuing an illicit military nuclear program. I think that there is no doubt that most people at this point, and certainly importantly the supreme leader of Iran, believe that President Obama is desperate for a deal. Everybody understands that with the Middle East melting down, with Russia invading Ukraine, with the world in crisis with ISIS on the rise, president Obama has no other opportunity for a foreign policy achievement. This is his only opportunity. And he has pursued it relentlessly and vigorously to the point where nobody believes that he is willing to walk away, despite the rhetoric that no deal is better than a bad deal.
Why do you think it would be a bad deal?
Read further at link: time-ua.com
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