The eighth round of talks on the revival of the Nuclear Deal began on the last days of 2021 in Vienna. The previous round ended with no result, while Iran refused to negotiate directly with the US. President Biden has so far failed to fulfill his campaign promise to return to the UN-backed Agreement that had been withdrawn by Trump in 2018 “in his maximum pressure campaign” to “overthrow the regime”.
The new government of Iran, which came to power in August 2021 harshly criticizing the “soft pro-Western” approach of the “liberal” Rouhani government, has reportedly attempted to withdraw some of the concessions granted by its predecessor while demanding for all Trump-ear sanctions to be removed completely and verifiably.
In the meantime, ratcheting up uranium enrichment as a means of retaliation for US withdrawal from the Deal has substantially shortened Iran’s break-out time. There is a consensus that there will be serious regional and global security implications, should negotiations fail. How likely is it for Iran and Israel to be dragged into a regional military conflict? What are possible scenarios and ramifications?
Robert Howse is the Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law. His teaching and research focus on international economic law (trade, investment, and finance) and legal and political philosophy. He is a co-founder and co-convener of the New York City Area Working Group on International Economic Law and serves on the American Bar Association Working Group on Investment Treaties.
Sadeq Bigdeli is an international lawyer and a visiting scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School. He has been a law professor in New Zealand (2010-2017) and Iran (SBU National Law School 2016-2020). While a law professor in New Zealand in 2014 and at the peak of negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Deal, Dr. Bigdeli was invited by the Government of Iran (Ministry of Industry, Mining, & Trade) to help manage the process of the country’s reintegration into the world economy.