MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) — Failure to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear program could lead to an international crisis and alter international politics, though the signing of a nuclear agreement could also have substantial negative impacts, experts said Tuesday.
"Both Obama and Rouhani need some material confirmation of the righteousness of their politics, and neither of them is interested in extending the talks beyond November. The US needs it to ensure its presence in the Middle East. It is Obama's big strategic task. Rouhani has also put his presidential authority on this issue in his campaign. The Europeans are economically interested in this, China is also interested, Russia has put a lot at stake. If the talks fail, that would lead to an international catastrophe," Vladimir Sazhin, Iran expert at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told reporters.
Sazhin rejected media claims that Russia is inhibiting the process of lifting sanctions against Iran. "Russia and China have insisted on opening Iran up. Western Europe is the most interested in lifting the sanctions from Iran, but they are driven by the United States. Moscow and Beijing have been doing everything possible to bring the positions of Iran and the West closer," he stated.
The expert noted that there has been major progress in the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, even though the negotiating parties failed to reach an agreement before the initial deadline in July.
"What is left is the decision on the volume of uranium Iran can enrich and also the system of lifting the sanctions against Iran. Imposing sanctions is much easier than lifting them. The process this year, which I see as extremely positive, provides for soothing the sanctions," Sazhin said.
Rajab Safarov, General Director of the Center of Studies of Modern Iran, stated that signing a nuclear agreement and lifting sanctions against Iran "on the one hand removes a problem that has been on the global agenda and has been putting the world on the brink of the next big conflict, but it also presents danger, for Iran as well".
According to Safarov, Iranian oil entering onto the international market may not be desirable, as oil prices are already falling. "More oil will lead to a greater oil price fall. No one seems interested in this, in the West or in the East," he said.
The lifting of sanctions could also lead to the Iranian market being filled with western companies, as Iranian companies are not competitive, Safarov believes.
In addition, if the agreement is signed and "Iran is integrated into a western system of values, it will become Russia's competitor. It will raise political risks and the risk of destabilizing the region. The West is only interested in the lack of Russian influence in the [EMEA] region."
If the nuclear deal is not signed, Iranians will lose faith in President Rouhani, while the country's spiritual leader will blame him for failing to agree with the international community, Safarov said. "The limit of hope among Iranians is nearly extinguished. Everyone is waiting for the agreement," he stated.
"Outside of Iran, in its external politics, Iranian-Russian and Iranian-Chinese relations will be activated [if the agreement is not signed]. I don't exclude an agreement resembling an alliance. It will show that Iran doesn't just need the United States," Safarov said, noting that this could also lead to Iran entering the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union. "From being competitors, we will become energy allies. Russia is interested in this," he added.
According to Alexander Kuznetsov, vice-president of the Institute for Predicting and Settling Political Conflicts, the United States is especially interested in the signing of a nuclear agreement on Iran, as this would be "the only great achievement in the past eight years, which will negate all the mistakes America has made, and make [Obama] a peacemaker in history".
The United States' main goal is not to solve the nuclear issue, but to "remove Iran's status as regional superpower " and "deprive it of imperial ambitions", Kuznetsov said.
He also noted that "Iran's priority is to enter the global political and economic system, but there are countries that like to keep Iran in a gray area".
The West has long been concerned with Iran's nuclear activities, accusing Tehran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program, claims that have been repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.
At a meeting in November 2013, Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising Russia, China, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, signed the Geneva interim agreement, which stipulated the signing of a long-term nuclear agreement on Iran by July 24, 2014. The deadline was later postponed to November 24, 2014 as the parties failed to reach a consensus.