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Balancing act of diplomacy between Iran and the West

diplomacy not bombs 1Talks With Iran on Nuclear Deal Hang in Balance NYTBy  November 23, 2013 GENEVA — As Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from five other world powers swept into Geneva this weekend for the second time in two weeks, they struggled to complete a groundbreaking agreement with Iran that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more comprehensive accord…….

The interim accord the United States and its negotiating partners are seeking would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to 3.5 percent and would not require it to dismantle its existing centrifuges. But it seeks to constrain the Iranian program by requiring Iran to transform its stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop from weapons grade, to a form that is less usable for military purposes.

It also establishes a cap on Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, precludes new centrifuges from being installed and is expected to involve more intensive monitoring of the Iranian program, among other measures.

As to what Iran considers its “right to enrich,” American officials signaled a possible workaround last week, saying that they were open to a compromise in which the two sides would essentially agree to disagree, while Tehran continued to enrich.

The accord would last six months, allowing negotiators that period of time to work on a more comprehensive and lasting agreement.

In return for the temporary freeze, Iran would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion worth of sanctions relief, American officials say, including providing Iran with access to frozen assets. The limited relief could be accomplished by executive action, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not dismantle Iran’s nuclear program……..

Michael Mann, the spokesman for Ms. Ashton, described the negotiations with the Iranians as “intensive.” If diplomats do not succeed in sweeping away the obstacles to an accord this weekend, observers expect them to mount another try here within a few weeks.

November 24, 2013 - Posted by | Iran, politics international

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