The Takeaway: Iran nuclear talks resume subsequent week — What you should know

Hot take: US seeks united diplomatic entrance forward of Iran nuclear talks

Background:

  • Talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, resume on Nov. 29 in Vienna. The events embrace Iran, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, together with the European Union. The United States, underneath former President Donald Trump, withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018. While the United States, having withdrawn, received’t be “in the room,” its delegation can be simply outdoors the door.
  • This would be the seventh spherical of talks this 12 months and the primary such assembly since June and since Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took workplace on Aug. 3. Former Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who served underneath former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, mentioned he left the Raisi authorities a “framework for a possible deal.”
  • The JCPOA, negotiated by the United States underneath former President Barack Obama, is included in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) — you possibly can learn the decision and JCPOA right here.

Latest:

  • US Iran Envoy Rob Malley mentioned on Nov. 19 on the IISS Manama Dialogue that “time is running out” to negotiate a return to the JCPOA, and that US regional partners clearly support a return to the JCPOA. He added that US President Joe Biden will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Nov. 23 that the US position is a return to “mutual compliance” by Washington and Tehran to the JCPOA.
  • Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview this month that while Iran is returning to the Vienna talks, “There is no need for negotiations,” suggesting the United States ought to merely carry the sanctions imposed on Iran since May 2018.
  • Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which displays Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, instructed the IAEA Board of Governors on Nov. 24 that his conferences on Iran on Nov. 23 have been “inconclusive” and the IAEA’s function has been “seriously undermined” by “Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.” An IAEA report in August 2021 famous that Iran was enriching uranium at 60%, nicely above the three.67% cap within the JCPOA. Highly enriched uranium at 90% purity is required for nuclear weapons growth.
  • Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has opposed any form of take care of Iran, mentioned, “We hope the world doesn’t blink, but when it does, we don’t intend to. … There may be disagreements with one of the best of our associates. It wouldn’t be the primary time. In any occasion, even when there’s a return to the JCPOA, Israel clearly will not be a celebration to the settlement and isn’t obligated by it. … We will preserve our freedom of motion.”

Our take: a united entrance

  • Watch US engagement with Russia and China, as Washington will look to shut off, as finest it could actually, an jap off-ramp for Iran within the nuclear talks. All JCPOA events, together with Russia and China, share the US curiosity in stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
  • A powerhouse US delegation to the IISS Manama Dialogue final week — US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, White House Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk and Malley — included reassurances that the United States will not be leaving the area. Worth noting that simply days later, Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s prime nuclear negotiator, met in Dubai on Nov. 24 with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen and Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president.
  • Nonetheless, Ben Caspit stories that “the general sense in the Middle East, among the moderate Sunni axis and Israel, is one of abandonment. The way these states all see it, the only ones who can be relied on right now to stop Iran are the Israelis.”
  • The United States is saying it received’t take into account an “interim” step to interrupt the diplomatic ice, however the thought is reportedly being mentioned, in line with Barak Ravid. What may such a step be? Amir-Abdollahian instructed this month the prospect of a goodwill gesture from the United States — “for instance, by releasing $10 billion of Iran’s ‎frozen assets.” Price mentioned on Nov. 23, “We have been very clear that we are not prepared to take unilateral steps solely for the benefit of greasing the wheel.”
  • If there’s a new or revised Iran deal, the US Congress may have an opportunity to evaluate and debate it underneath the oft-forgotten Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), as Stephen Rademaker explains right here.

From our regional correspondents:

1. Turkish forex disaster felt in Idlib

Thanks to Turkey’s forex disaster, costs for gas and meals objects, together with bread, have spiked sharply, making living circumstances even tougher for Syrians living in Idlib province, Khaled al-Khateb stories from Syria.

Idlib, in northwest Syria, is the final stronghold of Syrian opposition and jihadist forces against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant, or HTS), the jihadist group that governs most of Idlib, began utilizing the Turkish lira final 12 months.

HTS is designated as a terrorist group by each the United States and the UN Security Council.

Update: Mustafa Sonmez writes that “the consumer confidence index has plunged to its worst level since its introduction in 2004, although a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Ankara on Nov. 24 boosted the currency with discussions of up to $10 billion in UAE investment in Turkey.

2. Saudi, Syrian intel chiefs meet 

The Arab states that severed ties with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad are slowly opening the door to normalization with his regime.

Mohammad Hanafi has the details on the rare Nov. 13 meeting between the Saudi and Syrian intelligence chiefs in Cairo on the sidelines of the Arab Intelligence Forum.

The high-profile meeting came on the heels of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s trip to Damascus, the first by an Emirati foreign minister since the war erupted a decade ago.

In another first, Jordanian King Abdullah took a phone call from Assad in October.

It remains to be seen whether the previously shunned Syria will be welcomed back into the Arab League, which will hold its next summit in Algeria in March. 

3. Turkey’s Jews stream ‘The Club’

A new Netflix series set in 1950s Istanbul is making waves in the Turkish city of Izmir’s tiny Jewish community. “The Club” tells the story around Matilda, a fictional Jewish woman who shot her Muslim Turkish lover after he wrongly accused her family of evading Turkey’s wealth tax that targeted non-Muslims.

After her release from prison, Matilda finds a job at the avant-garde Club Istanbul as a laundress. 

Nazlan Ertan writes that “for many Jewish people in Turkey, the series confronts past demons,” including the Turkish government’s “Citizen, Speak Turkish!” language campaign and the multiple pogroms that devastated the country’s Jewish towns. 

4. Oman bets on logistics 

As its crude oil reserves dwindle, Oman is hoping logistics can re-energize and diversify its oil-dependent economy.

If the sultanate leverages its location at the center of the world’s major shipping routes, Oman’s logistics sector could employ 300,000 people by 2040, Sebastian Castelier writes.

But standing in the way of Oman’s ambitions to be the Gulf’s entry point is the United Arab Emirates, whose port operator DP World moves nearly one in 10 of the world’s containers.

The economic competition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, however, could present an opening for Oman.

5. Egypt, Tanzania boost GERD cooperation 

Egypt and Tanzania are deepening coordination over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo views as a threat to its Nile River water supply.

Earlier this month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Tanzanian counterpart, Samia Hassan, met to discuss the decade-old dispute over the megadam, which Addis Ababa has said it plans to fill.

Egypt is among Tanzania’s top economic partners and is currently building a hydropower dam in the East African country. “Egypt believes boosting its ties with Tanzania, a Nile Basin country, could thwart Ethiopian efforts to reconsider the distribution of Nile water shares,” Mohamed Saied says.

One Cool Thing: Gaza’s all-girl skate team

Young girls in the Gaza Strip are taking up skateboarding and, while they’re at it, shattering a stigma around women in sports. 

Taghreed Ali reports on an all-girl roller skating and skateboarding team that trains every Friday morning at a graffiti-covered skate park in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

Social norms have long prevented girls from joining the sport, and those who do want to skate often have trouble finding the proper equipment in Gaza’s stores.

Check out this video for more on Gaza’s beginner boarders.

What We’re Listening To: Andrew interviews Amberin on her reporting from Syria

Amberin Zaman discusses her reporting in northeastern Syria and explains why we can’t rule out the possibility of an eventual rapprochement between Erdogan and Assad over their shared fear of the Kurds. Check out the podcast here.

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