Talks in Vienna aimed at allowing the United States and Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal ended on March 19 having made further progress but still falling short of a final agreement on what that return would look like. Differences remain over U.S. sanctions relief and the required nuclear steps by Iran. Some officials involved in talks suggested that an agreement could be reached relatively soon—perhaps as early as next week when the parties reconvene in Vienna. But predictions of a quick conclusion around the corner have so far proven illusive.
In addition, the Iranian team faces a tough domestic political environment when it returns to Tehran. To date, Iranian negotiators have remained on a tight leash. Guidance from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may provide negotiators with the flexibility they need to make a breakthrough, but he could just as easily hold that flexibility in reserve.
Read the rest of the commentary at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.