Though officials on the Iranian side have termed next week’s Istanbul talks with the P5+1 the “last chance” for a major deal, neither side appears to be going into the talks in much of a dealing mood, leaving the prospects that any sort of deal will emerge dim.
US officials are demanding “seriousness” from their Iranian counterparts, but the entire US negotiating strategy appears to be predicated upon their anti-Iran sanctions working so well that Iran will show up eagerly willing to agree to any and all US demands. And there will be a lot of them.
Iran, for its part, says they will only discuss technical and legal issues, and will not agree to abandon their civilian nuclear program in its entirety. Given that this is a core US demand, there appears to be little point to the talks themselves.
Indeed the tenor is much as it was before the previous talks, which hastily ended with no deal beyond the fact that they would meet again in Istanbul. Given that the US followed those talks by chastizing Iran for agreeing to the Istanbul talks, saying it proved they were delaying the situation, the only decent bet is that another round of talks won’t be so easily arranged.