Speaking on Charlie Rose, Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour explained that in the ongoing nuclear negotiations, Iran feels confident that the United States wants the deal more and if there is an impasse, Iran will not be blamed for it. Instead, Netanyahu and the U.S. Congress are likely to be blamed.
Still, he said, the negotiations are likely lead to “some type of a framework agreement,” but it will not be as concrete as some may hope for. While the negotiations are on technical issues, the result will come down to a political decision by Iran’s Supreme Leader. He added that it is an “economic no brainer” for Iran to sign the deal, but as the Supreme Leader has been saying for decades that American cannot be trusted, the deal will represent a political risk to the Iranian leadership.
Sadjadpour statated that the challenge in dealing with Iran “is that those Iranian officials who are accessible to us … are not powerful and those Iranian officials who are powerful are inaccessible to us.” He explained that there is a division within the Iranian leadership. Pragmatists want to model China: they do not want to relinquish power but instead open the country up economically. Hardliners, on the other hand say, look at what happened to Gorbachev when he opened up the Soviet Union. When one abandons their ideals, the worry, the entire house could collapse. Sadjadpour concluded that while most of the Iranian public would support the pragmatists, the hardliners have the ability to coerce the population and they feel threatened by opening up the country as they believe it is easier to run Iran in isolation.