Thursday, July 30, 2015

The New Yorker

"Death to America" & the Iran Deal
By Robin Wright 
The fate of the Iran nuclear deal may be determined less by details in a weighty document, drawn up by the world’s six major powers, than by a three-word chant still shouted  thirty-six years after Iran’s revolution. “Death to America!” hangs heavy, and maybe decisively, over the debate in Washington.

Read on....
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/death-to-america-and-the-iran-deal?intcid=mod-latest

Monday, July 20, 2015

The New Yorker

"Letter from Iran: Tehran's Promise" 

My piece about the Iranian revolution's mid-life crisis, the inside story of how the nuclear negotiations played out behind closed doors (and the five close-calls), plus what it all means for Iran's future. I had a riveting trip to Tehran. I even went to see Huck Finn--in Farsi!

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/27/tehrans-promise


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The New Yorker

Iran's Post-Deal Future
By Robin Wright
The long slog of diplomacy with Iran—a pariah nation since its 1979 revolution—was always about more than the bomb. It was about the return of the world’s eighteenth-largest country—and its vast military, population, and consumer base—at a time when the Middle East is crumbling. A nuclear deal could alter the regional dynamics. The chaos in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State, which has come within twenty-five miles of Iran’s borders, have redefined the dangers to Iran, as well as its priorities. During the nuclear talks in Vienna, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, released a YouTube message to the West, in English, about how a deal could “pen new horizons to address important, common challenges.” Even Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, amid his customary anti-American bombast, offered a tantalizing remark. “If the other side gives up its usual diversionary tactics,” he told a group of poets, in April, “this will become an experience for us that, very well, we can negotiate with them on other issues.” Throughout the spring, Tehran was abuzz over the prospect of co√∂peration with the United States. During the final weeks of negotiations, I spoke to Zarif in Tehran about Khamenei’s statement and how a deal might impact other conflicts in the world’s most volatile region.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The New Yorker

An Iran Deal, At Last 
By Robin Wright 
After nineteen days of marathon negotiations and four missed deadlines, Iran and the world’s six major powers announced a nuclear deal in Vienna this morning. The exhaustive and elusive diplomacy—sustained by an unsettling combination of Twizzlers, gelato, string cheese, and Rice Krispies treats—was dicey to the end. Secretary of State John Kerry wasn’t sure that the often volatile talks would succeed, until Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, showed up at Kerry’s working quarters, in Room 103 of the opulent Palais Coburg, just before midnight Monday.

“This has always been a Rubik’s Cube,” a senior U.S. negotiator told me. “In the early morning hours of July 14th, the last cubes clicked into place. It was an incredibly arduous and incredibly complex process.”

It was also the longest mission of a Secretary of State in more than three decades. Since October, 2013, Kerry has flown some four hundred thousand miles—the equivalent of circling the world sixteen times—to prevent a tenth country from getting the bomb. Read on....

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The New Yorker

Nuclear Deal's Adversaries Await
By Robin Wright
For the world’s six major powers, getting to a nuclear deal with Iran has been torturous. The talks, led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, have repeatedly been extended by months, then weeks, and, now, in the opulent Palais Coburg, in Vienna, almost day by day. Today, they were extended to July 10th. Deadlines, Iran’s senior negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said (after missing today’s), are not holy. Marie Harf, the State Department senior adviser, said, “We’re frankly more concerned about the quality of the deal than we are about the clock, though we also know that difficult decisions won’t get any easier with time.”

Campaigns against a deal are already in full swing in both Washington and Tehran. If an agreement eventually emerges, both parties will have to sell it to constituencies that remain skeptical because of the even more tortured history between the two countries—spanning six decades and including a coup, terrorist attacks, assassinations, the shooting down of a passenger aircraft, covert operations, nuclear sabotage, and hostage dramas. Privately, the American and Iranian delegations have mused, more than once, over which government was taking the bigger risk, or was going to pay a bigger price, for the nuclear diplomacy. Read on....



Thursday, July 2, 2015

The New Yorker

The War that Haunts Iran
By Robin Wright 
The historic nuclear diplomacy taking place in Vienna’s elegant Coburg Palace has roots in a gritty war between Iran and Iraq that ended more than a quarter of a century ago. Iran suffered more than a hundred and fifty thousand dead between 1980 and 1988. In Tehran, it’s called the Sacred Defense. In the final stages, U.S. aid to Iraq contributed to Iran’s decision to pursue nuclear capability—the very program that six world powers are now negotiating to contain.... 
Read on: