Iran says makes new proposal in nuclear talks, West
VIENNA – Reuters
REUTERS photoIran has offered “constructive solutions” to resolve disputes in nuclear talks with six major powers, the Iranian Students news agency ISNA reported on July 8, but Western officials suggested they had heard nothing new from Tehran.
Iran and the powers are in the last stretch of talks to reach a final agreement to end a more than 12-year standoff over the country’s disputed nuclear program. The goal an agreement that would lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade.
“Iran has presented constructive solutions to overcome the remaining differences. We will not show flexibility regarding our red lines,” the Iranian diplomat, who was not identified, told ISNA.
But Western officials indicated they have yet to see new proposals from Iran that could end the deadlock.
The biggest sticking points include issues such as a United Nations arms embargo, U.N. missile sanctions, the speed of sanctions relief, and research and development on advanced nuclear centrifuges.
“I haven’t seen anything new from Iran,” a Western diplomat close to the talks told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Another Western official echoed the remarks.
Western countries accuse Iran of seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.
A successful deal could change balance of power in the Middle East, the biggest milestone in decades towards easing hostility between Iran and the United States, foes since Iranian revolutionaries stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.
It would be a political success for both U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani, both of whom face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home.
Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China gave themselves at least until Friday to negotiate an agreement, but a source from one of the powers said on Tuesday they had to wrap up in the next 48 hours.
Speaking to reporters late on July 7, a senior U.S. official suggested that the negotiations were approaching a moment of truth.
“I believe we will in the near term either get this deal or find out we can’t,” the U.S. official said.
Iran and the powers have a rough draft of an agreement with five technical annexes, which diplomats say adds up to around 80 pages. But the text contains many brackets highlighting areas of dispute. The disagreements over U.N. Security Council sanctions are among the most difficult, officials said.
“Removing the remaining brackets, this seems to be very, very, very tough,” a senior Western diplomat told reporters.
Russia and China, which have never hidden their dislike of sanctions, had indicated they would support the termination of the arms embargo on Iran and U.N. missile sanctions, both of which date back to 2006.