Negotiations to reach a nuclear deal with Iran have reached a critical point. The frantic negotiations on Saturday were due to the fact that the United States (U.S.) and Iran are trying to reach an outline agreement on the final plan by Tuesday. Both countries are hoping to have reached a final agreement by June 30.
One of the biggest obstacles that the U.S. faces while dealing with Iran, is the fact that they insist on being able to develop nuclear weapons. This idea is quite troubling for many countries. The Iranian’s resistance to limiting their development of nuclear weapons is making the negotiations difficult for both sides. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif maintains that the problem with the negotiations lies solely with the U.S. The U.S. is refusing to lift the harsh economic sanctions on Iran until an understanding is reached.
There were reports that the two countries were close to reaching a deal, but according to the Iranian negotiator Majid Takht-e Ravanch, this is not the case. He maintains that there are still some difficult issues that the two countries must come to an agreement on before the final deal can be made. The issue of the sanctions being removed in a timely manner is a key issue at this time. Both sides do agree though that once the negotiations are complete, relations between the two countries will greatly improve. The point in the negotiations between the two countries has reached a critical point, and at this time any misstep could result in a total breakdown in everything both countries have been working for.
The lead negotiator for the U.S. is Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry has met with Ravanch several times over the last few days. These are the two primary negotiators for the two countries. There are, however, secondary negotiators for both countries as well. These secondary negotiators are both nuclear physicists, Ernest J. Moniz for the U.S. and Ali Akbar Salehi for Iran. Both attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the mid-1970s. Salehi was actually part of the last wave of students that came to America from Iran to study in some of the country’s top schools. Their primary job is to go over the technical aspects of the proposed nuclear program. If a deal is reached soon, then it will be Miniz’s job to convince the U.S. Congress, as well as other countries, such as Israel, that Iran will be incapable of building a nuclear bomb.
Diplomats from France and Germany have joined in the talks recently. They are trying to smooth over the negotiations between the countries so a deal can be reached. One primary concern is that the U.S. will take just about any deal that is offered just to improve relations between the countries. This is a primary concern for Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now that the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran have reached this critical point, any breakdown in communication would be potentially disastrous for both countries.
By James Dixson
Photo by: State Department – Flickr License