This is not the time to walk away from the nuclear talks

Anxiety not only affected nuclear negotiators in Vienna but was also visible in Iran, where on the eve of the last day of the nuclear talks a hashtag was created on Twitter “#Celebration OnNov24ForIran” in the hope that a final deal would be reached before the November 24 deadline.

With no briefing or details provided to the more than 100 journalists who had traveled to Austria to cover the final days of Iran’s nuclear talks, a seven month extension was the only news we heard. U.S. Secretary State John Kerry appeared in front of the media and said: “ Progress was indeed made on some of the most vexing challenges that we face.” Kerry officially was the first person to announce that the nuclear talks would be extended until July 1st after days of intense talks in Vienna with Iran and P5+1 ( five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany).

Keeping his body language positive, Kerry said the world is a safer place since the talks began last year and Iran’s ability to enrich and store high grade uranium had been diminished significantly.

Of course for the Americans, perhaps the talks on the Iranian nuclear issue wasn’t the main subject of the interest as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reigned on the same day. It is rumored that Hagel resigned under White House pressure, as NBC Nightly News reported. The media focus shifted from the talks to the shock resignation very quickly. However, the talks remained top news in Iran, as President Hassan Rowhani appeared in a taped interview on state TV to tell citizens of the progress being made and to promise Iranians that the nuclear program would continue and the quality of their lives would also continue to improve.

Spreading the praise

Secretary Kerry praised his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif for his hard work and commitment, saying: “The Iranian foreign minister has worked hard and he has worked diligently.”

For the first time since the hostage crisis 35-years ago, the two foreign ministers of Iran and the U.S. held two bilateral meeting and that too without the presence of Catherine Ashton in Vienna.

Of course, for both Iran and the United States is not very easy to leave 35 years of disputes behind and reach a nuclear deal as a sign of semi normalization of their relations. However, there have been signs that progress is being made in relations, even without the comprehensive agreement being reached.

It is clear that both countries are eager to reach the nuclear deal but more trust needs to be built between the parties involved. “This is not the time to walk away.

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard


Giving the two nations time to ready themselves for a lasting friendship will perhaps take more than a year as Zarif emphasized upon his arrival to Vienna that “reaching the deal needs political will.”

Settling the nuclear file

According to both parties, the seven month extension is predicted as the maximum amount of time needed to settle the nuclear file. Being quite optimistic, Zarif commented that “we don’t want to stretch the time to its maximum of seven months of extension. The goal is reaching the deal at the nearest future,” adding that he thought the deal would be sealed within four months.

Positivity and hope for solving the remaining issues in the shortest possible time was a goal and repeated by Zarif and Kerry at their separate press briefings.

President Hassan Rowhani, who spoke on state TV with a calm and smiling face, claimed victory because Iran’s right to its peaceful nuclear program had been recognized and “there is no pressure on Iran to reach the agreement.”

It is clear that both countries are eager to reach the nuclear deal but more trust needs to be built between the parties involved. “This is not the time to walk away. It takes time to find possible solution. We meet in December to drive this process,” Kerry rightly said to the press in Vienna on Nov. 24.


Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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