Western powers tried to keep their poker faces, displaying calculated restraint in describing positive signs from the meetings with Iran this week in Geneva. In keeping with the new tone since the election of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, the atmosphere is by all accounts much more conciliatory, with talk of an end-game for resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
While there is no denying the sharp contrast between the old insult- and evasion-laden interactions that characterized the days when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was Iran’s president, there are a number of worrisome signs that indicate the current process is not as diplomatically wholesome as Tehran would like to portray it.
The centerpiece of the meetings in Geneva was a lengthy PowerPoint presentation from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, laying out Tehran’s new proposal for ending the stalemate. There were no details of what the proposal contained, but Iran’s senior negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, tantalizingly said the plan had “the capacity to make a breakthrough.”