News / Middle East

Iran Motivated for Nuclear Deal, but Tough Issues Remain

Iran Motivated for Nuke Deal, but Tough Issues Remaini
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November 18, 2013 3:05 PM
As talks between world powers and Iran resume on its nuclear program, experts say even hardline factions in the Islamic Republic appear motivated to make a deal. There are still difficult issues to resolve, though, including Iran’s claimed “right” to enrich uranium. VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Iran Motivated for Nuke Deal, but Tough Issues Remain
Al Pessin
As talks between world powers and Iran resume this week on its nuclear program, experts say even hardline factions in the Islamic Republic appear motivated to make a deal. There are still difficult issues to resolve, though, including Iran’s claimed “right” to enrich uranium.

For a while, it seemed like an agreement might be reached in the last round of talks in early November, with foreign ministers involved. That didn’t happen, however, and now lower level officials will to try to bridge the gaps.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif thinks they can succeed. “I think we are all on the same wavelength and that's important and that gives us the impetus to go forward when we meet again next time.”

The issues are difficult. But experts say a first-stage agreement for some limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing some economic sanctions is possible, in part because Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, appears to want one. 

Gabrielle Rifkind, who heads the Middle East Program at the Oxford Research Group, said, “The Supreme Leader will make a strategic calculation about what is in the best interests of Iran. The Supreme Leader is a very shrewd operator. It’s too easy to say he’s just ideologically rigid. I think he’s actually a lot smarter than that.”

The Ayatollah has told hardliners in Iran to give the newly-elected, relatively moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, a chance to make diplomacy work. The motivation is the same force that put Rouhani into power - the public outcry in Iran for relief from the crippling economic sanctions.

But speaking via Skype from the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, senior researcher Roland Popp said the motivation goes only so far.

“I think they’re willing to compromise, but they’re not willing to capitulate. On the one side, there is great support for the nuclear program. It’s kind of a matter of national pride," said Popp. "On the other side, people look very much into their economic surroundings and people expect the politicians to negotiate those sanctions away.”

Experts say that means finding a formula to limit Iran’s nuclear program that assures the international community it is not trying to build a bomb - without requiring an end to the program, as some in the international community would like. Also, there will have to be enough sanctions relief to satisfy Iran in the short term, without removing its motivation for further concessions in a long-term deal.

“The big sanctions, which are in fact the oil and financial sanctions, are not going to be waived or undone at this point,” said Rifkind.

But that is what Iran wants at the end of this process, perhaps in six months. So as difficult as these negotiations have been, if they succeed, even harder work, and more painful compromises on both sides, lie ahead.

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by: PermReader
November 18, 2013 1:58 PM
The two conclusions can be made after the talks: 1) fighting for "enrichmet right" and Plutonium , Iran seeks for the Bomb. 2) America of Obama is not bothered with this unlike France!
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 19, 2013 10:19 AM
Obama is rather naive, not unconerned. His take is that his brothers in the islamic Iran will only use the nuke to kill infidels. Ask Obama again what he believes - he is tired of civilization, wants a test of islamist civilization - nothing but restrictions. He knows he's only using American people's goodwill to achieve his destructive agenda with the mullahs. I tell you one thing: he's not even bothered that he'll be held accountable for his actions even after his presidency. Take this from me, he'll end up in prison when the Americans discover that he's been a bundle of deceit and betrayal of the American dream.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 18, 2013 12:16 PM
The issue with Iran is not how smart the Ayatollah Khamenei can get, we know that he can get as smart as deceive the world he wants peace when actually he wants war with Israe, Saudi Arabia and the West. The issue is that Iran has incurred world wrath trying to wipe out a sovereign country from the world map. To achieve it Iran has gone into nuclear program - the only quickest and most effective way to wipe out the human race in one swoop. The world says "no you can't do that", and Iran says it's doing what it's doing for peace. Peace in Iran has meant wiping out opposition, dissident, and that precedent means to wipe out its opponents, including those practicing islam in ways the Iranians abhor, drawing wider outcry than just the threatened Israel.

This means all sunni practitioners are in trouble - as long as Iran is concerned - which gives peace to the mullahs wearing blue turban. The only way Iran will convince the world that it really wants peace not piece, Iran must drop the idea of uranium enrichment and the heavy water reactor capable of producing plutonium - substances needed for nuclear warhead production. After all Iran still has oil and exports it in large quantities, why sell it instead of use it to generate its energy for everything, which is safer, cheaper and easier to handle. If Iran must use nuclear power, it must drop these two activities to reassure the international community. That has come to be the DEAL or NO DEAL.

Pride is the most palliative and innocuous pill to swallow, and if Iran swallows its own having brought itself to where it is now, it will do Iran much good and save further rancorous negotiations that rather bring more confusion than solution. But warning here is, the more time taken in these negotiations, the closer Iran draws to the red line it must not cross; though seems there is intelligence failure why we are left in the dark regarding what level the program has gotten.
In Response

by: Sam from: Canada
November 18, 2013 10:49 PM
Iran has not invaded any country for 400 years. As a member of IAEA, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Only four countries in the world have not signed non-proliferation treaty. Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea.

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