Skip to main content

Iran 'bound' to complete talks by March 31

Iranian media outlets believe that progress was made in the nuclear talks and that the nuclear talks are reaching a conclusion.
Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 12.16.19 PM.png

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) will be completed by March 31, says Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, a spokesman for President Hassan Rouhani’s administration.

Nobakht, who's considered close to the president and arguably has a larger role within the administration than the first vice president, was asked by reporters about the significance of the presence of Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, and Hossein Fereydoon, brother and adviser to Rouhani, at the nuclear negotiations in Geneva between Iranian and American officials. “This time in the negotiations, from the viewpoint of time, we are bound to conclude the negotiations by March 31,” Nobakht said. “Of course, not just at the level of general agreements but also on the specifics we have to reach results.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham previously was criticized for suggesting that at the end of March there would be a political “understanding” rather than an “agreement.” It seems now, given Nobakht’s comments, there appears to be a push by the administration and negotiators to have a complete deal by the end of March.

The March 31 deadline is a sort of soft deadline that is part of the November 2014 interim deal agreement, and also the deadline that members of Congress have reportedly negotiated with President Barack Obama before moving forward with new Iran sanctions. As for the Iran side, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on the nuclear program, has specified that once an agreement is made, it not be made as a multistep deal but rather a complete deal with all the issues resolved.

Despite cautious statements by negotiators, some reformist Iranian media seem to believe significant steps were taken at the latest round of talks that may show a deal is close.

Iranian analyst Saba Zanganeh wrote in Shargh Daily: “Sometimes the sides talk of the collapse of the negotiations, while in the heart of the negotiations, the final consultations are taking place.” He saw the firm statements by both Iranians and Americans about their red lines and demands as “techniques” and “tools” that all negotiators use to maximize the concessions from the other side.

Zanganeh said the presence of Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz “is undoubtedly the entering of the negotiations in a new phase.” He added that one can deduce that there is a general agreement and some of the specifics have been resolved and that only “a few issues remain.” He said the best way to understand the negotiations is to think of it as a train before it reaches it’s destination, in that this is the moment it usually reaches peak speed and that signs show a “good deal is more likely.”

In Arman Daily, Reza Raisi wrote that the expression, “There is something for sure, that rumors exist,” should be applied when observing the various international reactions and statements from world leaders about the nuclear negotiations. He said the “speed and urgency of the consultations” and the “statements [by officials] indicates that there was progress made in the negotiations.” 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial