Iran’s foreign minister in Moscow for talks on Gulf tensions

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif travels to Moscow today to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The two are

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Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif travels to Moscow today to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

The two are expected to discuss the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has announced it will further reduce its compliance to the deal on September 6. Tehran has already exceeded the deal’s limits on stockpiled enriched uranium and fissile purity, although levels remain much lower than they were prior to the agreement.

Despite its defiance, Iran’s economy is in freefall. Its economy is expected to contract by around 4.5% this year—the third worst in the world—while inflation is currently hovering just below 40%. Along with defying the agreement and escalating tensions, Iran’s strategy for coping with US sanctions has been to hope that President Donald Trump loses next year’s election to a more amenable candidate.

However, the election could open a negotiating opportunity for Iran. A new deal that addresses the previous agreement’s sunset clauses and Iran’s role in regional conflicts would be a huge boon for Mr Trump’s campaign, giving Tehran some leverage in any negotiations.

With there being no guarantee that there will be a new US administration come 2021 and the spectre of at least six more years of economic hardship, it may be now or never for Iran to renegotiate the nuclear deal.