South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Voice of America on resumed negotiations between the P5+1 countries and Iran:
As Iran resumed talks this week with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), the Barack Obama administration and France tried to downplay expectations for quick progress.
A U.S. official briefing reporters in Vienna said that an agreement was not imminent or certain while French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, speaking to senior journalists in Washington, said he was unsure whether a deal could be finalized before an interim nuclear accord with Iran expires on July 20.
But expectations are growing that a long-term nuclear deal will be reached and that it will lead to a more recognized role for Iran in resolving other crises such as the Syrian civil war. That Iran’s fortunes are on the rise again appears to have influenced its long-time rival Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal declared this week that he was going to invite his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, to visit the kingdom.