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Iran Nuclear Talks Enter New Phase; Both Sides Unsteady Over Agreement
May 16, 2014

Diplomatic efforts by Iran and world powers towards a potentially historic nuclear deal enter treacherous uncharted territory with a new round of talks in Vienna.

After three meetings that the USA says have enabled both sides to understand each other’s positions, the negotiators aim this time to start drafting the actual text of an accord.

Success could resolve one of the most intractable geopolitical problems of the 21st century, but failure could plunge the Middle East into conflict and start a regional nuclear arms race.

Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group said, “If the odds of the talks collapsing are high, the stakes of failure are higher.”

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany want Iran to reduce in scope its nuclear programme so as to make any dash to build an atomic bomb virtually impossible.

In return the Iran, which says its nuclear activities are purely peaceful, wants the lifting of all United Nations’ and Western sanctions, which have hit its economy hard.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said after the last round that there was agreement on 50-60 percent of issues and a lot of effort” was still required.

A senior US official said the talks would be very, very difficult and that there were still significant gaps between the two sides and a range of complicated issues.

But the analysts said, “We do not know if Iran will be able to make the tough decisions they must to assure the world that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon and that their programme is for entirely peaceful purposes.”

 


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