In Tehran there’s quiet hope that a fresh round of talks on Iran’s contested nuclear programme could prove fruitful.
The talks begin in Geneva on Tuesday, between Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members as well as Germany.
One Tehran student said: “The Iranian negotiators should adopt an approach that would benefit young students like me. That could be showing more leniency or a compromise with the West.”
Iran’s new moderate president, Hassan Rohani, has expressed willingness to negotiate with the west. Tehran is expected to put a new package of proposals on the table in a bid to ease sanctions.
Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation & Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies says both sides seem ready to communicate: “From the Iranian side clearly the sanctions have had an impact, the sanctions have been devastating the Iranian economy. Mr. Rohani ran an election pledge to do something about it, a change that would engage the United States and try to lift the sanctions. So he wants to do something. From the United States point of view, Obama has been ready for years to engage but hasn’t had a partner in Iran ready to do so.”
Sanctions imposed by the US, the EU and their allies have battered Iran’s economy, reducing its oil exports by almost half, and causing high inflation and unemployment.
The stakes are high, as are Iranian hopes for a better future.