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Getting to ‘yes’ on a new Iran deal

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week and I've got your Quick Take and thought I would talk a little bit about where we are with Iran. One of the Biden administration's promises upon election was to get the Americans back into the JCPOA, the Iranian nuclear deal. As of last week, negotiations are formally restarted, and pretty quickly, in Vienna, they're not direct. The Americans and Iranians are both there, but they're being intermediated by the Europeans because they're not yet ready to show that they can talk directly to each other. That's Iran being cautious in the run-up to their presidential election coming this summer. But the movement is there. So far the talk has largely been about sequencing the Iranian government, saying that all of the sanctions need to be removed before they're willing to go back into the deal, because the Americans after all, unilaterally withdrew from a deal that the Iranians were indeed adhering to, and the inspections did confirm that.

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Well, I mean, to be fair, the country is actually stable. Seven million people rolling out vaccines faster than any other country around the world. I mean, you know, life is relatively normal unless you're in the occupied territories as a Palestinian. But the politics are indeed problematic. It is very close, indeed. It is conceivable that Netanyahu will be able, by the skin of his teeth, to put together a very, very right-wing coalition, that could threaten democracy. It's also conceivable that no one can put together a coalition, it depends on small parties, in which case you could have a fifth election in two years. Yes, that could easily happen. There you go.

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Watch the episode: Is the US Misjudging the Middle East's Power Shifts? Vali Nasr's View

Is the US misjudging the Middle East’s power shifts? Vali Nasr's view

"Pivot to Asia." It was the catchphrase floating around Washington DC's foreign policy circles in 2009 when President Obama first took office. And yet twelve years later, the Middle East continues to consume the attention of the United States' military and diplomatic efforts. Now President Biden is determined to change that, and to turn Washington's attention to Asia once and for all as he moves to confront a growing China. But according to Johns Hopkins University Middle East scholar Vali Nasr, President Biden's approach to the Middle East will have to adapt to the once-in-a-generation power grab occurring between Iran, Israel, and Turkey while Arab nations in the region increasingly lose influence.

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