Different Messages on the Lausanne Accord
Posted: April 9, 2015 Filed under: Nuclear
I think this AL Monitor piece by Shahir Shahidsaless is one of the best summaries of the various statements that have been released both jointly and unilaterally by the parties to the Lausanne talks over the past week. It also very usefully discusses the differences among those statements. I think the author is correct when he says:
While enrichment, R&D and the Arak heavy-water reactor are all significant concerns, the most contentious issues that threaten the negotiations process are sanctions and inspections.
He then proceeds to explain these concerns well.
Commentary, both official and non-official, on the agreement reached in Lausanne has been a bit of a circus over the past week. Honestly, I’ve mostly tuned out from listening to the specifics of any side’s version of what was agreed, and what they think will be agreed to, and what they will accept. At this point, I think that pretty much all we are hearing from all sides is spin – the message that they want both the other parties and their own domestic constituencies to hear. To me it just reinforces the fact that there really is no agreement between the parties yet on anything approaching a full range of the important issues of contention. We really are just going to have to wait until June to know anything concrete.
What I have thought at times, and what may yet be true, is that the framework accord was purposed by the parties to be vague and yet to convey that the parties were making serious progress, and to allow all sides to basically sell their own version of the deal to their respective domestic constituencies. The hope, I’m guessing, is that each side can indeed sell its version to its domestic constituency as “the deal” or at least the broad strokes of it, which will calculatedly build positive momentum (“It’s historic! It’s better than we thought! Maybe it’s the beginning of a general detente!”, etc.) for an accord in general on all sides. So much so, I think they hope, that when June roles around and each side has to walk back from some of the strong positions they’ve taken while selling the deal to their domestic constituencies, there will be so much positive momentum built up, and so much effort invested on all sides, that there won’t be enough opposition left to overcome the inertia, and the deal will be agreed to and implemented.
Just to reiterate, I’m all for a deal, and I’m not particularly picky about its terms. So I’m not sounding any alarm bells here. Just sort of giving my thoughts on what’s going on.