Talks aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme resume in Vienna on Tuesday in an atmosphere of caution.
Officials representing six world powers and Tehran, plus the EU’s foreign policy chief have all said the negotiations will be long and complicated.
Hardliners on both sides are suspicious, but political concerns may be outweighed by the economic.
Konrad Kramar, an editor with the the daily newspaper Der Kurier explained: “The Iranians are really desperate. Their economy is collapsing at a breathtaking speed. I mean, from the currency to the oil production, everything is crumbling there. These guys are really in need of money, new business contracts, everything. So the Iranians need a solution. So for them, it’s absolutely urgent to go towards an agreement.”
Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears far from desperate. On Monday he once again criticised the US and said he did not expect any outcome from the negotiations.
“Iran will not violate what it has promised, but Americans are hostile to the Islamic revolution and the Islamic Republic,” he said.” They are enemies of the flag …. and this hostility will never subside.”
However his vow to continue the nuclear talks despite his reservation has been seen as his strongest sign of support for moderate President Hassan Rohani’s push to resolve the conflict peacefully.
An interim deal calls on Iran to accept far more intrusive inspections to ensure the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.