The View from Tehran: Iranian Leaders’ Perspectives on the International Framework Agreement

By Tom Wilson

Discrepancies between the Iranian and American versions of April’s nuclear framework agreement abound, while some Iranian leaders have even categorically denied the validity of the US State Department fact sheet on the framework. With less than a week to go before a comprehensive accord must be found, this HJS report is the first to analyse how the framework is really seen in Tehran.

By focusing on the reactions, in Persian media, from Iran’s senior figures following the release of the international framework agreement, The View from Tehran reveals the extent of opposition to any deal on the country’s nuclear programme. Moderate elements in the regime are often eclipsed by a wider pattern of hostility to the West.

Drawing on wide-ranging research into the Persian media coverage of the negotiations, the publication finds that rather than grasping the opportunity of an end to sanctions, Iranian leaders have exploited negotiations on nuclear issues to advance national objectives. It is clear that Iranian leaders frequently use negotiations on the nuclear programme to propel anti-Western rhetoric and conjure nationalist sentiment.

The sentiments expressed by Iran’s leadership raise troubling questions about the likelihood of both sides being able to reach a future agreement that meets the international community’s requirement. The West must be prepared to accept that no deal on Iran’s nuclear programme is better than a deal that is not respected or properly embraced by the Iranian regime.

Tom Wilson, Resident Associate Fellow at HJS and author of the report, commented:

“Since the release of the framework agreement, Iranian leaders have beenadamant about rejecting many of the most important parts of what we were given to understand they had agreed to. The Iranians have walked back so many elements of the framework that one begins to wonder if the sides really managed to reach any kind of meaningful consensus at all. Either way, the apparent Iranian tendency to dispute what was agreed hardly inspires confidence in Iran’s readiness to stand by future agreements. The same could be said of the hostile anti-Western statements that have come from Iranian leaders during the negotiations period, these certainly don’t convey the impression of much good will on the part of Tehran.”

The View from Tehran: Iranian Leaders’ Perspectives on the International Framework Agreement is available to download here


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