All eyes on Vienna as Kerry and Zarif rendezvous

During Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, very important events are ongoing in Vienna

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

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During Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, when businesses are slow and quality family time has so much value, very important events are ongoing in Vienna. It may seem as though it is only important for Iranians and Americans, but that is not the case – it is very important for whole world, regardless of their opinion about Iran’s nuclear talks with the Western powers.

The impact of these talks will affect the region and will shift all political dynamics soon after Ramadan.

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry removed the last barricades holding Iranians back from stepping forward and paved the way to make a final decision easier for Tehran.

The region is embroiled in crises that continue to threaten the long-term security of Iran

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

“What we are concerned about is going forward.” The U.S. secretary of state said.

Iran's options

Kerry appeared at a State Department briefing by video conference on June 16 and asked whether under a final deal, Iran would need to disclose all of the past and present military aspects of its nuclear program before sanctions against the country would be lifted.

“The possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another,” he told reporters. “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way,” Kerry said.

There is a famous Persian proverb that says “If you want death, then go to Ghilan,” which is used to refer to somewhere faraway – Iran is on the brink of making that decision.

Recently, Iran’s top negotiator indicated that the deadline is not a sacred date and if there is a need for extra time to reach a “good deal,” they wouldn’t rush themselves.
The deadline which has been agreed with Iran by negotiators of P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) suggested June 30 as final day to wrap-up these two years of ongoing talks.

However, in the U.S.’s point of view and that of other negotiators, the main issue is Iran dodging of the questions brought forward by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) over whether Iran’s nuclear program has military dimension.

Easing pressure

Two weeks before the deadline, Kerry released Tehran from this pressure and now it is Iran’s turn to prove if genuinely is ready to make the necessary step. Secretary Kerry is set to come back to Europe to meet Zarif at the end of this week. Meanwhile, Zarif speculated that the talks might goes beyond the deadline in early July.

The biggest rendezvous of these talks might be that between Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry scheduled later this week. While all eyes are on Vienna and the deadline, the observers having doubts if the parties can seal the final agreement before the end of Ramadan.

The region is embroiled in crises that continue to threaten the long-term security of Iran. Therefore, more than ever, Iran needs to reach a nuclear deal which would pave the way to international cooperation to confront and contain all of the regional threats, including ISIS. The nuclear deal will also allow Iran to gain new, more reliable allies who will help develop Iran’s economy, and that simply could be the most immediate neighbors who quietly have their eyes on Kerry and Zarif’s next meeting in Vienna.


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

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