When no side is willing to yield, the talks may be intense but they are not negotiations. When one group threatens greater sanctions and the opposing group insists on “a final victory” nothing progressive takes place. In the most recent round of nuclear talks between the P5 1 (U.S., U.K. France, China, Russia, Germany) and Iran, one thing was agreed on, and that was the setting of an ongoing agenda. No substantive discussions to lead to an actual agreement took place.
Nuclear talks of November 2013 ended with concessions from the P5 1 and from Iran, and the expectation of follow-up talks to further come to a final agreement. The concessions were a six-month deal in which some sanctions against Iran would be lifted in exchange for Iran down grading its nuclear program and uranium enrichment. The International Atomic Energy Agency has reported that Iran is meeting its commitments. America, though, lacks confidence that Iran will give up its capabilities to produce weapons of mass destruction. Iran insists its goals are purely peaceful. Iran also insists it has a right to modernize its nuclear program.
The follow-up talks that just occurred in February 2014, made little progress. A senior American official speaking anonymously said, “All our concerns must be met to get an agreement.” Likewise, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is determined that all of Iran’s concerns must be met.
America demands that large parts of Iran’s “nuclear infrastructure” be dismantled. But, Iranian officials have said, “They will not dismantle any part of their nuclear program or give up what they have called their right to modernize it.”
Jonathon Marcus, BBC diplomatic correspondent, spoke with experts and wrote, “The goal of any long-term deal, they believe, is to establish a level of enrichment commensurate with Iran’s practical needs and a level of oversight that enlarges the “break-out time” to be sure that any future Iranian move towards a nuclear weapon would be spotted as early as possible.”
One goal of the P5 1 is for Iran’s nuclear program and uranium enrichment to be governed at a level that if Iran did decide to produce weapons of mass destruction it would take them at least a year of “break-out-time” to do so,
A definitive aspect of the February 2014 talks is that “groups of experts would meet in early March” and that the P5 1 and Iran have agreed to meet again on March 17. Also, there is talk of meeting every month until a “comprehensive and final agreement” has been reached.
The P5 1 and Iran would have a difficult task even if they were in a vacuum, but much of the world is watching, and some countries, such as Israel and Iraq, are taking strong positions. While it is difficult to appreciate so very little being accomplished, it is important to keep moving forward. Hopefully keeping the intensity alive with monthly meetings will result in actual negotiations, which will then result in an agreement that satisfies the west and lifts sanctions from Iran.
Joan Brown ~ NEWSslinger.com