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'Too much at stake to walk away from Iran talks'

With the Iran nuclear talks expected to head into overtime, DW asked three experts to weigh in on the prospects of a potential nuclear deal and its ramifications for Tehran and the West.

What do you think will be the likely outcome of the nuclear talks - deal or no deal? And Why?

Kelsey Davenport, Director for nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association:

A comprehensive nuclear deal is within reach. Many of the difficult political decisions have already been made, and both sides have the political will to finalize the remaining details and finish the deal in the first few days in July. There is too much at stake for the parties to walk away from the negotiating table. If the talks fall apart, escalation is likely, with Iran ramping up its nuclear program and the international community pursuing more sanctions. A nuclear agreement is the only way for both sides to achieve their policy goals - assurance for the international community that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons and sanctions relief for Tehran.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian nuclear negotiator and former ambassador to Germany, now a Research Scholar at Princeton University:

Diplomacy is the only choice for both parties. Progress to date is unprecedented. The chance for a final deal is high. However, they may need to extend the talks for some days although the real deadline, as US Vice President Joe Biden said, is July 9th.

Charles D. Ferguson, President, Federation of American Scientists (FAS):

My reading of the developments in the nuclear talks to date is that it is very likely that there will be a delay past June 30th. I think the delay will likely occur because of the complexity of the political and technical issues that still appear to have to be worked out. The technical annex alone is dozens of pages. Given Iran's relatively extensive nuclear program, the negotiators will have to cover many different facilities and work through various access issues.

But this delay can be a good development. I believe it is better to give the negotiators adequate time to address the complexities. But the delay should not last too long in order to resolve the concerns that both sides have in a timely manner. The P5+1 is concerned about obtaining adequate limitations and inspections of Iran's nuclear program, and Iran is concerned about getting relief of sanctions. No deal means that neither side gets a resolution of its concerns. But an inadequate deal means that a gap will remain in trust between the two sides.

Infografik Geplante Einschränkungen des iranischen Atomprogramms Englisch

What are the possible implications for Iran, the US and the West?

Kelsey Davenport, Director for nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association:

Finalizing a deal based on the April 2 parameters agreed to in Lausanne will be a win-win scenario for both Iran and the international community. A nuclear deal strengthens the nonproliferation regime, restricts Iran's nuclear program, and puts in place stringent monitoring and verification to ensure that Iran is not pursuing covert nuclear weapons activities. A deal also helps safeguard regional security by removing the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. A deal is also good for Iran. Under a deal Iran can pursue a limited civilian nuclear power program and boost its economy with the benefits of sanctions relief.

Seyed Hossein Mousavian, former Iranian nuclear negotiator and former ambassador to Germany, now a Research Scholar at Princeton University:

A final agreement on the nuclear file expected by July 9th would open the pathway for further discussions between Iran and world powers on pressing regional issues – such as stability and security in Iraq, Syria and the fight against extremism – that have sunk the Middle East into chaos. Another positive development from the nuclear talks are the extensive bilateral discussion between the US and Iran. While decades of mistrust and animosity cannot be wished away, the fact that both sides have open engagement at the highest level since the 1979 Revolution is a positive development for broader dialogue between the two countries.

Charles D. Ferguson, President, Federation of American Scientists (FAS):

A deal is fundamentally about building a better relationship between Iran and the West, including importantly the US. While no one should hope that a deal on Iran's nuclear program will solve all problems between Iran and the West, a fair deal will make a step in the right direction toward closing the trust deficit. The implementation of a fair deal will allow both sides to form a working relationship during the long implementation of the deal. While there is no guarantee that this relationship will bridge the divide between the two sides, I think it is better to try this approach rather than keeping the two sides apart.

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