In February 2012, Iran announced its willingness to resume negotiations with the Western powers. This statement followed in the wake of a damning report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and the imposition of additional sanctions by the international community on an Iranian economy already under pressure. Tehran's announcement also coincided with increased speculation regarding an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. At the same time, however, this seemingly positive step appeared to be undermined by Iran's concomitant announcement that “huge” technical progress has been made on Iran's nuclear programme. This article will explore the significance of the recent political, diplomatic and technical developments in the Iranian nuclear affair and situate them in the broader context of Tehran's nuclear strategy. The analysis will assess the potential for this latest phase in the Iranian nuclear crisis to reverse Iran's current trajectory and initiate a rapprochement between Iran and Western powers.
- Iran; nuclear programme; sanctions; nuclear hedging;