World leaders are worrying a deal over Iran’s nuclear research will not come to fruition before Tuesday’s deadline. Iran’s tough stance in negotiations is being blamed for the delay in the nuclear deal.
Leaders from the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia are meeting with Iranian leaders in Switzerland in an attempt to strike a deal regarding the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear capabilities. The latest negotiations would allow centrifuge work to continue at one secret bunker in exchange for limitations at other sites.
Iran, to comply with the deal, must agree to international inspections and also agree not to conduct research for the development of an atomic bomb. There are other restrictions listed for work at the country’s other facilities that include the number of centrifuges allowed. Part of the agreement is to use other minerals like zinc and xenon – those which cannot be used for nuclear weapons – instead of uranium.
An agreement would also mean less economic sanctions from the United States and Europe. The United States imposed economic sanctions after the 1979 hostage crisis and the EU joined the U.S. in 2012 in imposing sanctions on oil exports and banks in response to Iran continuing to enrich uranium even after the United Nations Security Council adopted numerous resolutions ordering it to stop.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is leading negotiations. Some of the sticking points include how fast sanctions would be lessened and the number of restrictions placed on nuclear research. Iranian officials don’t want to sign a preliminary deal that Kerry wants so that Kerry can submit a written commitment to Congress and that is also being blamed for a delay in finalizing a nuclear deal. The concern from Iranian leaders is that details identified in a written commitment might cause hardliners to thwart the deal.
Meanwhile, in a twist of irony, other Arab countries are echoing Israel’s concerns that a deal between will cause instability in the region. Some of the toughest criticism has come from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Prince al-Faisal said in an interview that Iran should not “be given a deal it doesn’t deserve.” He also stated that the country’s desire to acquire nuclear capabilities was a serious threat to the entire region and that the country was an aggressive power that interferes with other countries of the Middle East. Other Middle Eastern powers that have joined in criticism over negotiations include United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Egypt.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been avid in his criticism of nuclear negotiations with the neighboring country. He has repeatedly warned that nuclear capability in the hands of a radical government would put Israel’s security at risk. Netanyahu’s stand on the issue was a focus of his recent re-election.
Concerns over Iran’s nuclear ability relate to religious differences in the region. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are primarily Sunni Muslim while Iran is run by Shiite Muslims. The two have always been in conflict. The United States, for the most part, has ignored the concerns of the Sunni countries, as well as Israel, even though all of those countries are allies of the United States.
Talks of a deal will continue up until the deadline Tuesday, but U.S. senior diplomats state that the outcome will largely depend on Iran’s ability to compromise. As it stands, Iran stance is too tough for other world leaders to consider and that is causing delays in firming a nuclear pact deal.
By Melody Dareing
Photo by Cliff – Flickr license