Officials Nearing Initial Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program

The second round of Geneva talks starts Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L), European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (C ) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2ndR) wait prior to a meeting on November 9, 2013, on the third day of talks on Iran's nuclear programme at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva Switzerland. Crunch talks between Iran and world powers stretched into an unscheduled third day on November 9 as top diplomats pushed for a deal to end the decade-old standoff over Iran's nuclear programme. 
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Jordain Carney
Nov. 15, 2013, 10:47 a.m.

U.S. of­fi­cials told NBC News that they are “get­ting close” to reach­ing an agree­ment on the first part of a mul­tiphase deal over Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram.

A po­ten­tial deal is ex­pec­ted to ban Ir­an from ad­van­cing its atom­ic pro­gram bey­ond its cur­rent state. In ex­change, a lim­ited num­ber of sanc­tions would be lif­ted against the coun­try. Of­fi­cials said the num­ber of sanc­tions in­cluded in the deal could be smal­ler than pre­vi­ously es­tim­ated.

“That would put cru­cial time on the clock for us to ne­go­ti­ate a com­pre­hens­ive agree­ment that ad­dresses all of the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munit­ies’ con­cerns about Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram — all the while it halts the pro­gress of that pro­gram. The agree­ment would in­clude un­pre­ced­en­ted mon­it­or­ing and veri­fic­a­tion and there­fore make it harder for Ir­an to do any­thing in secret,” a seni­or U.S. of­fi­cial said.

The United States, the United King­dom, France, China, Rus­sia, Ger­many, and Ir­an are ex­pec­ted to meet in Geneva next week for the second round of talks.

The news comes in the midst of an in­tense lob­by­ing ef­fort by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to con­vince the Sen­ate to delay ad­di­tion­al sanc­tions against Ir­an, ar­guing that they would de­rail talks and po­ten­tially lead to mil­it­ary ac­tion.The move has re­ceived bi­par­tis­an push­back. But on Fri­day, Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Di­anne Fein­stein, D-Cal­if., said in a state­ment that she would “op­pose any new sanc­tions as long as we are mak­ing pro­gress to­ward a genu­ine solu­tion.”


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