Iran finished expert talks with six other countries on obstacles to ending an entrenched nuclear dispute by July, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports.
“The Wednesday and Thursday intensive, technical negotiations were focused on technical details, which were surveyed painstakingly,” Hamid Baeedinejad, Iran’s top delegate to the two-day meeting in Vienna, said in comments reported by the state-run news organization.
“The results of this technical round of talks will be delivered to the top officials of the two sides,” the Iranian envoy said.
The gathering was intended as preparation for a higher-level meeting of Iranian diplomats and their counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Those officials, who are slated to begin several days of talks on June 16, are pursuing an agreement that would grant Tehran sanctions relief in return for potentially limiting activities feared in Washington and other capitals to be geared toward nuclear-weapons development.
Their most recent high-level meeting concluded in May with neither side reporting significant progress, despite their stated aim to reach a long-term deal before an interim accord is scheduled to expire on July 20.
Tehran reportedly dug in on demands last month for robust nuclear capabilities under a potential deal, in part by pressing to retain uranium-enrichment systems sufficient to fuel its domestic nuclear power plant. Negotiators from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany have resisted such calls, citing the potential for the equipment to alternatively generate higher-purity uranium for nuclear bombs.
Iran may also have taken a hard stance last month on plans for its unfinished heavy-water reactor. Other countries have aired concerns over the Arak site’s potential to generate weapon-usable plutonium once activated.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
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