Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Iranian Settlement Negotiations

Talks began today in Vienna regarding final settlement on Tehran's disputed nuclear program. Though the parties have indicated a deal may prove difficult, the Iranian negotiators were reported to have stated that if all sides enter the talks with the political will, positive results may be reached in time. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, who has final say in nuclear matters, was pessimistic about the prospects of a long-term deal. U.S. government officials similarly downplayed expectations in what was described as a complicated, difficult and lengthy process. This meeting is the first since the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany struck an interim accord with Iran last fall to scale back nuclear work in return for some sanctions relief. The issues for the permanent agreement include the level of Iran's ongoing enrichment of uranium, underground enrichment facilities and reactors, and inspection of military complexes where the IAEA suspects activities related to weapons development occurred. A final deal would define the permissible scope of an Iranian nuclear program and resolve concerns that Tehran is seeking the capability to build an atomic bomb. Iran, of course, denies having any such goal and wants the complete removal economic sanctions. See stories here-- http://reut.rs/1mr7muc and http://bbc.in/1gQ2vgj