It’s beginning to look as though the latest round of P5+1 talks with Iran may fail, spelling disaster for a diplomatic process that is arguably on its last legs. Although the talks continue today in Baghdad, serious concessions need to be made to salvage the talks.
As negotiators from both sides entered negotiations, there is no question that both sides knew what the other would expect: the P5+1 a cessation of uranium enrichment to 19.75%, and Iran a relaxation of sanctions against its oil sector.
So far it appears that the U.S. is not willing to ease sanctions enough to appease Iran. Instead, the U.S. has offered spare airplane parts and assistance in developing Iran’s energy sector. But Iran expected much more relief, although the details of that relief aren’t yet available.
Regardless of the outcome of this round of talks, both sides are likely to say that they were at least worthy of a third round in order to keep Israel at bay, oil prices down (at least on the side of the U.S.), and the dialog open. Both sides know that this is the last straw, and that something has to budge. Iran cannot afford to take on the latest round of sanctions July 1st, and the U.S. can only hold Israel back so long.
Consequences of all out failure will be severe for everyone. Already oil prices have crept up slightly because of the direction the talks are currently headed. If failure is in fact reported, they will go even higher. Additionally, there seems to be no future motive for dialog if things go south today in Baghdad. Without an agreement of some kind, Iran will face aggressive further sanctioning which will hurt its population and thus be forced back to the negotiating table at a later date and under worse pretenses. While the P5+1 hold the power, the Iranian people bear its brunt.