RD Webcast: Experts on the Middle East and nuclear nonproliferation discussed the outcomes of the preliminary nuclear deal with Iran as well as recent changes to the region’s geopolitical balance

Video by Russia Direct Team

Russia Direct held a webcast on the outcomes of the Iranian nuclear talks, which concluded on April 2 with a preliminary agreement. Participants discussed the outcomes and the meaning of the interim deal as well as changes that have occurred in the Middle East in recent weeks, including Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen against Houthi Shia rebels and the Arab League’s decision to form an Arab joint military force.

Participants unanimously agreed that the preliminary agreement that the P5+1 and Iran finally achieved is just the first productive step on the way to a comprehensive deal. Moreover, the experts participating in the webcast highlighted that the deal is very fragile considering the current situation in the Middle East region, meaning that there is still a lot of work ahead. For example, the deal still has to be "sold" to the U.S. public. In addition, U.S. politicians and Iranian clerics could still mount opposition to a final deal getting done.

Participants also argued that Russia’s positive role in the Iran talks process influenced the success of the talks greatly as Moscow pursued a consistent approach based on diplomacy and negotiations rather than threats and military options.

Moderated by Alexey Khlebnikov, the Senior Editor of Russia Direct, the webcast will include the following participants:

- Petr Topychkanov, associate in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program;

- Mario Abou Zeid, research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his work focuses on political developments in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran;

- Nikolay Surkov, assistant professor at MGIMO-University and chair of Middle Eastern Studies.