Iran and P5+1 May Extend Deadline for Talks


After days of unsuccessful talks, Iran and the P5+1 may have to extend the deadline for reaching a diplomatic solution to the disagreements surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiations have been taking place in the nation of Oman in the Persian Gulf and have included meetings directly between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and United States Secretary of State John Kerry. The self-imposed deadline for reaching an agreement is November 24.

The agreement they are searching for will strike a balance between Iran and the rest of the world by allowing Iran to continue its nuclear program while taking measure to reassure the international community of their safety. Tehran has long said that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons, but simply wants to use the program for civilian purposes like medical research and energy. Washington has tried to limit Tehran’s capability by limiting their resources. According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials have stated that Iran should not be allowed to maintain more than a few thousand centrifuge machines, which are used to enrich uranium. Tehran has responded saying that as they continue to develop their program they will need hundreds of thousands. There is also the issue of the future of a heavy water reactor currently in their hands. The reactor is not functioning right now, however, when it works, it will be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. In return for limiting its nuclear resources, they want to have the internationally imposed economic sanctions eased.

There have been days of diplomatic disagreements and the deadline for Iran and the P5+1 to come to a solution may have to be extended. Among the nations currently negotiating are the US, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany. President Obama met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Russia opposes the sanctions that have already been set and is trying to increase their dealings in energy in the region. Moscow announced on Tuesday that its nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran was expanding to include the growth of a reactor complex that was constructed in Bushehr by Russia. The agreement was signed by Sergei Kiriyenko, who is in charge of the Rosatom corporation in Russia,  as well as the nuclear chief for Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi and will result in an additional couple of reactors being built in the city. The original facility was under German rule in the 1970s and became operational last year after being completed by Russia.

The fact that Iran and the P5+1 haven’t been successful in their talks and may have to extend the deadline to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is causing concern in the international community. If some sort of diplomatic solution cannot be found it could cause problems for the region, which is already unstable. Extending the deadline would also bring about its own set of challenges. The flexibility of the White House’s diplomacy could be affected by the winning of the U.S. Senate by Republicans last week. Leaders in the party have previously stated that if the countries can’t come to an agreement by the end of the month they are prepared to impose a new set of sanctions. This would make future diplomacy difficult.

By Clara Goode

Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Photo Credit: European External Action Service – Flickr License

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