I am not optimistic about useful results deriving from the Vienna talks. From a Western perspective, Iran has put forth many unacceptable demands, although this is always the way in bargaining. If a new deal allows Iran to continue ballistic missile development and/or enrichment levels to where they are, it is likely that the Israelis will attempt to take any possible action. Importantly, there is some pressure on the Biden administration, which clearly wants almost any kind of deal, to back off on its demands.
Iran’s request for removal of sanctions and access to the full benefits of trade is quite logical, but the U.S. presently believes that denial of these benefits is the best effort it can do to demonstrate to both its domestic audience and the world audience that it is opposed to Iran’s nuclear and regional activities.
Europe will have some influence to bring American concessions as it has no fears of an Iranian nuclear program and it does not seem to be concerned about Middle East activities related to Iranian arms and financial support to its regional allies. European influence, however, will be marginal at best.
Presently there is little common ground, but the Biden administration gives every appearance of wanting to achieve some kind of agreement since one of its campaign promises was to restore the JCPOA. This inclination to get a deal makes the attainment of some deal easier, but Biden will face a great deal of domestic pressure to demand actions which Iran does not appear willing to accept. Nonetheless, a “less-for-less” deal that offers Tehran partial sanctions relief in exchange for a freeze or winding back of its nuclear work remains a good possibility. Each party could then leave Vienna with the claim that they got the best possible deal.
The Israelis are obviously opposed to any kind of economic relief to Iran, particularly since Iranian officials have made it clear that Israel should be eliminated; for instance, statements by Iranian Brigadier Gerneral Abolfazl Shekarchi that “We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter. We want to destroy Zionism in the world”. However, the Israeli PM’s recent public statement requesting no sanctions relief will have no impact on the negotiations because Israeli influence, like that of the Europeans, is rather marginal. It is the domestic American audience/media that Biden must successfully address.
Biden cannot make an ‘unbreakable’ deal. That would require a Senate vote, where it is unlikely to pass. And even if it did, it could be broken if the Senate were to change its mind, but that too would be a very difficult effort.