South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Jazeera America on this year’s United Nations General Assembly:
Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers resumed in New York, Thursday, with little optimism that a deal would be clinched on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Tehran and Washington both appear to be hanging tough on the key questions of the size of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and the duration of any agreed restrictions on that program – even as the nuclear question looks likely to be eclipsed over the next 10 days by the crisis over confronting Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria and Iraq.
Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday evening, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif devoted as much or more time to the question of ISIL than to the nuclear negotiations in which he has been intimately involved over the past year. While Iran and the U.S. are ostensibly on the same side in opposing the extremist group’s advances in Iraq and Syria, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to have ruled out overt collaboration with Washington – and has publicly ridiculed the Obama Administration for soliciting such cooperation.