The initial reports from the talks in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 seems to have been positive. There are two major changes which has contributed to an initial positive statement from the negotiating diplomats.
- The Americans are directly involved in the negotiations, for the first time the US has direct talks with Iran. With an administration that truly understands the language of diplomacy. So the world powers have much more leverage than before.
- The Iranian state is under heavy pressure internally and externally therefore needs to ease the pressure on their government. To show to the green supporters that they can archive international diplomatic victories and hence improve the relations with the global community.
Obama started to create the atmosphere for talks a year back and the Iranians were sending signals that there was a willingness to resolve the conflict.
Although the first talks were positive, the ‘package’, or the solution needs to get home support from both camps. The west have a united approach today and would only need the blessing of Israel to confirm their end of the deal.
The Iranians on the other hand is a different story. You need to make a stakeholder analysis to see who will benefit and who will lose on a deal with the West. I belive that it will be a battle of wills among the influential stakeholders to bless this, but on the other hand Iran would never refuse an offer either.
A small stakeholder analysis would be:
- Ahmadinejad and his coup government: Would be very positive to archive any kind of result, to be able to credit himself with a major international success. No matter what the deal would be, the population of Iran would be told differently so it could be made as a major propoganda show to strengthen his government and generate economic growth.
- The supreme leader and his inner circle: His position is threatened and he has most to lose in case the negotiations are unfavourable to Iran. As the main stakeholder, he is pessimistic to all deals with the Western powers. Since his legitimacy is under question, this could be an all in bet. Still unclear what position he has.
- The Revolutionary Guards: They are practically running the country’s security and main strategic economical sectors. If a deal would be archived, which would generate improved relations with the world has a dual effect on the Guards. More competition that threatens their monopoly status in Iran and less influence in the country’s final decisions since an external enemy or threat in eliminated with a solution. At the same time, being branded as a terrorist organisation, those limit its influence in the region. It could turn into a regional powerhouse if it would be set free.
- The hardline supporters of the regime: They would practically follow anything that the supreme leader would advise. Can perhaps not even be described as a stakeholder in the negotiations. But they would not feel betrayed, since their source of information is only the state.
- Iran’s population in majority would be sceptical to any kind of deal, feeling that the west sold their green movement for a nuclear arms free Iran. I will make a deeper analysis on this issue soon.
It is very difficult to predict if a nuclear deal would benefit the Iranian democracy movement or not. Since it’s closed talks and the terms and conditions are not reviled, we really don’t know what a grand bargening the different camps are searching for.
- If the Iranians get a blessing in Tehran: Then the talks will archive a very fast deal. We could probably see a closed deal in third quarter of 2010.
- If the Iranians see that there is less advantages in improvement of relations, they will continue killing time and drag out the negotiations.
No matter what the outcomes of the talks are, the Green movement will continue its struggle for a democratic Iran. The movement is spreading to smaller cities and gaining support in every corner of the society.