Today and on Tuesday, American diplomats will meet with the Iranian delegation hoping to advance the stalled nuclear talks. In previous negotiations, the question of what capacity Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium halted forward progress. The time has come to get off high center and make more progress.
Talks last November let to a temporary freeze on much of Iran’s nuclear endeavors. The world was enthusiastic and relieved at what appeared to be a retreat from possible war. The West temporarily lifted sanctions and the new President Hassan Rouhani looked like a hero to all but Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Now the tensions are beginning to rise again. While American is holding out a “carrot on a stick,” recent statements of Secretary of State John Kerry seem to indicate the United States has not backed away from the possibility of re-instituting sanctions if Iran refuses to go forward.
In an unclear and undefined situation, Iran will talk with Americans in Geneva and then go to Rome for talks with Russians. Obviously, the Iranians are trying to work both sides of the fence.
At this point, America appears willing to allow Iran to have the ability to enrich uranium if they will limit programs that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. Not convinced of how this alterative will work out, the Israelis maintain a right to make a pre-emptive strike if Iran doesn’t back away.
Behind the scenes, Iran has its own set of struggles that have a direct bearing on what they may be willing to do. They are facing a severe population decrease that could be devastating to their country. The June 8 edition of The New York Times ran a front page story detailing how young couples are backing away from having children because of the deteriorating economic conditions and their fear of where the government may be going. Speaking anonymously, a young couple openly confessed their doubts about the turmoil within the country. The wife admitted to having two abortions (illegal in Iran) to avoid children.
Seventy percent of the 77 million population are under the age of 35. The reproductive aged citizens simply don’t trust the future under the current regime. When asked why, they offer clear cut concerns: an intrusive government, conservative ideology, a poor economy, and finally political instability. Enough said?
During his term as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad only fanned the flames. The far right applauded him; the group under age 35 looked for ways to get out of the country.
Young couples struggle to find housing and that situation is not improving. If Iran doesn’t come to a solution and the West once again clamps down on their economy, the ayatollah’s may find that the radical reaction of the young could topple their leadership.
The Iranians are highly aware of their dilemma. Let’s see what they do.