Envoys Begin Push to Draft Final Iran Deal

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
May 14, 2014, 7:01 a.m.

Ir­an and six key na­tions on Wed­nes­day began work on a pos­sible com­prom­ise text for resolv­ing a long-run­ning nuc­le­ar stan­doff, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The start to the dis­cus­sions in Vi­enna marked a turn­ing point in a months-long push to clear up in­ter­na­tion­al fears that nu­mer­ous Ir­a­ni­an atom­ic activ­it­ies are dir­ec­ted to­ward de­vel­op­ment of a nuc­le­ar-arms ca­pa­city. In­siders have signaled pos­sible pro­gress over spe­cif­ic points of dis­pute — in­clud­ing an Ir­a­ni­an heavy-wa­ter re­act­or cap­able of gen­er­at­ing bomb-us­able plutoni­um — but ne­go­ti­at­ors must still de­term­ine how to as­semble a com­plete agree­ment.

Suc­cess is far from cer­tain, a high-level U.S. in­sider told re­port­ers. Tehran denies har­bor­ing plans to po­ten­tially build an atom­ic ar­sen­al, but has voiced open­ness to ad­opt­ing long-term nuc­le­ar re­stric­tions in ex­change for sanc­tions re­lief from China, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, the United King­dom and the United States.

“This is very, very dif­fi­cult,” the U.S. of­fi­cial said, adding that “no one can pre­dict what the over­all com­pre­hens­ive plan of ac­tion will look like from dis­sect­ing any one piece of it in isol­a­tion.”

Ir­a­ni­an For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif offered sim­il­ar re­marks after a Tues­day meet­ing with European Uni­on for­eign policy chief Cath­er­ine Ashton, who has rep­res­en­ted the six oth­er ne­go­ti­at­ing powers.

“This is go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing ex­er­cise,” the Xin­hua News Agency quoted Za­rif as say­ing.

An Ashton spokes­man said en­voys com­pleted a “use­ful ini­tial dis­cus­sion” early on Wed­nes­day, and would con­vene fur­ther plan­ning ses­sions in com­ing hours, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

“We are now hop­ing to move to a new phase of ne­go­ti­ations in which we will start pulling to­geth­er what the out­line of an agree­ment could be. All sides are highly com­mit­ted,” the spokes­man said.

The sides are push­ing to com­plete a fi­nal agree­ment by Ju­ly 20, when an in­ter­im ac­cord ne­go­ti­ated in Novem­ber is slated to lapse.

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