The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 22 June 2015

by TRG Alerts Admin on June 29, 2015

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(22JUN15)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Iran Nuclear Talks: Approaching the Deadline

Delegates from Iran and P5+1 world powers prior to a closed-door meeting in Vienna to negotiate a final agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. (AP)

This week’s snapshot focuses on ongoing negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Iran and P5+1 delegates agreed to a framework deal during negotiations in Lausanne in early April. The world powers are aiming for a final agreement by 30JUN in which Iran would receive relief from its economic sanctions in exchange for limiting its nuclear program. A final nuclear accord would end a 12-year standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

News Summary of events during the week of 15JUN15 – 21JUN15

  • 15JUN15: Russian security company Kaspersky Lab said further research into the Duqu 2.0 computer virus used to hack into hotels where the Iran nuclear talks took place has found it took advantage of digital credentials stolen from electronics maker Foxconn. (Reuters)
  • 16JUN15: Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi urged France to throw its support behind a draft deal on Iran’s nuclear program. (AFP)
  • 16JUN15: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France opposes any deal with Iran that does not allow for inspections of military sites. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled out checks on military sites. (AFP)
  • 16JUN15: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, rejected claims that the United States has kept quiet about Iranian sanction violations to avoid disrupting fragile negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran. (Reuters)
  • 16JUN15: Power said that if Iran cheats on the final nuclear deal, there will be provisions in place to prevent China and Russia from blocking reinstated UN sanctions against Iran. (AP)
  • 16JUN15: Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is “not fixated” on Iran’s possible past atomic weapons research, and is concentrating its efforts on what Iran may do in the future. (AP)
  • 17JUN15: A new round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 powers began in Vienna after a meeting between Iranian negotiators and EU Political Director Helga Schmid. (Reuters)
  • 17JUN15: Iran and the six world powers remained apart on all the main elements of a nuclear deal. (AP)
  • 17JUN15: Iranian lawmakers unveiled proposed legislation that officials said would protect the country’s nuclear interests and may inhibit negotiations. (AFP)
  • 19JUN15: Russia’s chief negotiator said the number of issues still to be resolved by the June 30 deadline could “be counted on one hand.” (AFP)
  • 20JUN15: Iran is poised to flood the market with another 1m barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil should it achieve a binding agreement to curb its nuclear program by 30JUN. (Telegraph)
  • 21JUN15: France’s Fabius said it remains unclear whether a deal could be reached by the June 30 deadline. (Reuters)
  • 21JUN15: Iran’s parliament passed a bill that requires all sanctions against Iran to be lifted as part of any final nuclear accord. The bill includes banning access to Iranian military sites and scientists as part of the final agreement. (AP)
  • 21JUN15: Iran’s parliament curtailed its own power to supervise a nuclear deal with world powers, effectively removing a longstanding threat that a final accord could be blocked by lawmakers. (AFP)

Sample of Twitter handles regarding Iran nuclear talks

  • @abasinfo – Abas Aslani, General Director of World and Foreign Policy at Tasnim News Agency
  • @arthurmacmillan – Arthur MacMillan, Tehran Deputy Bureau Chief for Agence France-Presse
  • @lrozen –  Laura Rozen, reporter at Al-Monitor
  • @mawilner – Washington Bureau Chief for the Jerusalem Post
  • @FarKashani – Farshad Kashani, legal and foreign affairs analyst

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Iran nuclear talks

Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association

“A lengthy extension fuels opponents of a deal who argue that Iran is not negotiating in good faith and is not serious about reaching an agreement…Another long extension seems unlikely.”

– Deadline for nuclear talks with Iran may be softening, Politico, 05JUN15

Richard Nephew, program director of the Economic Statecraft, Sanctions, and Energy Markets at the Center on Global Energy Policy

“The most positive interpretation [of Iranian warnings that it won’t allow inspectors access to military sites] is they’re just seeking negotiating leverage. But if they start backing away from this key element, that becomes a real problem.”

– In Iran nuclear talks, discord on inspecting undeclared facilities, Los Angeles Times, 09JUN15

Foad Izadi, professor of political science at the University of Tehran

“[Iranian President Hassan Rouhani] has invested a lot of political capital for these talks, but his administration is careful to point out that if the talks fail it’s not going to be the end of the world.”

–  Iran, world powers still have differences over nuclear deal, Channel News Asia, 15JUN2015

Ollie Heinonen former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency

“Unfettered access to sites, facilities, material, equipment, people, and documents is imperative to the credible long-term verification of any nuclear agreement with Iran…Procedures in a final deal, which provide Iran with the ability to define or control access, undermine the verifiability of the agreement and affect the IAEA’s ability to reach timely conclusions.”

–  Democrats, Republicans, neutral experts reject Iran sellout, The Washington Post, 21JUN15

Simond DeGalbert, former member of France’s Iran negotiating team and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“The deal needs to strengthen the IAEA’s ability to get answers from Iran on past activities. The only way to do that is to condition sanctions relief to Iran taking significant steps with the IAEA to clarify [past nuclear research].”

– Ayatollah’s decree complicates Iran nuclear talks, Politico, 22JUN15

Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Iran nuclear talks

1. Iran nuke talks hampered by disagree on all main elements

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 17 June 2015

VIENNA (AP) — Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date, two diplomats tell The Associated Press.

They expect talks to be extended into July as a result.

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2. Russia cautiously upbeat on Iran nuclear talks

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 19 June 2015

Vienna, June 19, 2015 (AFP) – Russia’s chief negotiator was cautiously upbeat Friday about nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, saying the number of issues still to be resolved before a June 30 deadline “can be counted on one hand”.

“Some complex issues remain but there are fewer of them than a week ago,” Russian news agency RIA-Novosti quoted negotiator Sergei Ryabkov as saying at the latest round of talks in Vienna.

The points to be resolved “can be counted on one hand,” he said.

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3. Iran parliament bans access to military sites, scientists

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 21 June 2015

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s parliament has voted to ban access to military sites and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program.

Of 213 lawmakers attending an open session of the parliament Sunday, 199 voted in favor of the bill that requires the complete lifting of all sanctions against Iran as part of any final nuclear accord.

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4. Iran lawmakers curtailed on power to veto nuclear deal

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 21 June 2015

Tehran, June 21, 2015 (AFP) – Iran’s parliament curtailed its own power to block a nuclear deal with world powers Sunday, effectively removing a longstanding threat that a final accord could be torn up by lawmakers.

A draft bill presented on Wednesday, which laid down strict criteria for Iran to accept any agreement, had threatened to complicate talks on a final accord, which are due to be finalised by June 30.

However, in a boost to President Hassan Rouhani’s government, key amendments to the proposed legislation will now move the formal supervision of a deal out of the hands of lawmakers.

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5. Britain calls for more Iran flexibility in nuclear talks

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 22 June 2015

Luxembourg, June 22, 2015 (AFP) – Britain on Monday urged Iran to show more flexibility in talks on its contested nuclear programme as an end-June deadline looms after years of tortuous negotiations with the West.

“There will need to be some more flexibility shown by our Iranian partners if we are going to reach a deal,” British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said.

“I think the serious negotiations are now getting underway and over the next week, I hope to start to see some progress,” Hammond said.

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