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Will Raisi follow Zarif’s path for reviving Iran nuclear deal?

Outgoing Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s final report on the Iran nuclear talks is self-serving in parts, but nonetheless charts a path to closing the JCPOA talks.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Baghdad, Iraq, April 26, 2021.

Outgoing Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s July 12 report to parliament offers a clear path for completing negotiations over restoring the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). All the incoming administration of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi needs to do is follow Zarif’s advice to adjust maximalist positions.

This is not so easy, of course; the maximalist demands that all sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump must be lifted, and that this must be verified before Iran resumes compliance, came from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Had he been willing to compromise, talks could have wrapped up anytime this spring.

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