Iran’s Nuclear Program Remains Elusive due to disagreements on three fundamental issues Said Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister on Saturday in Vienna.
“What we want is a robust deal that recognizes Iran’s right to civil nuclear power, but guarantees that Iran gives up definitively the nuclear weapon,” Fabius said.
For this there were three “indispensable” conditions Fabius said: “A lasting limitation of Iran’s research and development capacity, the access for United Nations inspectors to Iaran’s sites including the military sites if it necessary, as well as UN access to Iranian nuclear scientists and the automatic return of sanctions if Iran violates its commitments.”
Another outstanding issue is what Iran may be required to do to address questions about the potential military dimensions (PMD) of its past nuclear work.
Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately, though diplomats say they will be eased gradually in accordance with a schedule and only after confirmation that Iran has met its commitments to curb its nuclear program.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Saturday today, he was “hopeful” of a successful outcome. His meeting with Zarif ended after 90 minutes.
Senior US and Iranian officials said: “We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said according to a State Department draft transcript.
“I agree that we need to work really hard in order to be able to make progress and move forward,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying in the transcript.
The main differences are on the pace and timing of sanctions relief for Iran in return for its steps to restrain its nuclear program and on the nature of monitoring mechanisms to ensure Tehran does not cheat on any agreement.
The United States, Israel and some Western nations fear that Iran has been trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability but Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.
The coming days in Vienna could be extremely difficult and talks could go over the deadline by at least two or three days, a senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
A senior Iranian official warned that negotiations are hampered by differences not only between Tehran and the six other countries it is bargaining with but internally among the six as well.
Iran and the six countries at the negotiating table agreed in April on the outlines of a deal that would crimp Tehran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years in return for sanctions relief for Tehran. But negotiators are finding it difficult to fine tune which sanctions should be lifted when and how open Iran must be to outside monitoring.
Complicating issues, said Araghchi, was the fact that the nations Iran is negotiating with also differ in their approach to certain topics, “which may not be harmonized easily.” He did not offer details.