Monday, April 13, 2015

Switzerland, Iran, and Lots of Talking and Coffee

Focus on International Affairs

by Ashley Jackson

Switzerland is no stranger to high-level diplomatic talks. Still, March was notable for its diplomatic flurry in Montreux, Geneva, and Lausanne where world powers attempted to come to an agreement around Iran’s nuclear program.

During the talks, there was the controversial letter from Republicans to Iran’s supreme leader. Then there was Israeli president, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, skewered here by Jon Stewart. Tennessee Republican and new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee worked to pass a bill to require Obama to send any potential deal to Congress for approval. In Iran, meanwhile, domestic critics of the deal kept a low-profile. Arab nations, like Saudi Arabia, expressed alarm at the prospect of a US-Iran agreement.

After intense coffee-fueled all-nighters, American, European, and Iranian negotiators announced a framework agreement.

Reactions to the Announced Framework:

Many around the world felt the deal represented the best option. Republicans, however, predictably attacked the deal while others mocked Republican’s opposition. In Iran, Iranians celebrated news of the deal. Worldwide, investors expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of the opening of Iran’s markets. Saudi Arabia tentatively embraced the deal. Netanyahu continued to criticize it, but former Israeli Mossad Chief says Iran made important concessions.

What is Next:

Many of the details will need to be determined by July, the agreed deadline for a formal agreement. In the meantime, President Obama must now focus on building support for the deal domestically and in Arab states. You can see the outlines of his pitch in the recent interview with Thomas Friedman.

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