Another series of intensive nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) ended in Vienna last week. Despite hours of negotiations, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton remained in a stalemate. Tehran and Western officials said they made some progress, with both parties aiming to reach a full agreement by the November 24 deadline.
In the meetings, Iranian officials said they would accept the removal of energy and banking sanctions imposed in 2012, instead of a complete end to all economic sanctions. But the proposal was nothing new and was dismissed by the P5+1, stating that these suspensions would be lifted gradually only after full Iranian compliance in curbing its nuclear program.
A recent report by the UN nuclear watchdog outlined and verified Iran’s fulfilled obligations under the interim nuclear agreement with the 6 world powers. However, the IAEA Director General addressed a conference on Monday declaring that “Iran has implemented most of the practical measure agreed under the Framework, but not all of them.” The report also stated that the IAEA “is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, and therefore, to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
ASP supports the extension of the Iran negotiations, and believes that the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis is through diplomatic means. Coupled with public diplomacy efforts, this could lead to a normalization of relations over time, bringing some stability to the region.
Marylin Cariño is a nuclear security researcher and intern at the American Security Project. You can follow her on twitter at: Marylin Cariño