Top level American and German diplomats are saying the two sides in the talks over Iran’s nuclear program are still very far apart, despite what have been reported as signs of some progress, just two days before the deadline to reach a deal.
The Western powers believe Iran is aiming to acquire a military nuclear capability from its uranium enrichment program. Iran is claiming the program is strictly for civilian energy, which no one on the planet believes.
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Incidentally, although Israel and its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been perceived as the greatest foes of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, are perhaps even more alarmed by the possibility of a nuclear, Revolutionary Iran.
“We are working hard … We hope we are making careful progress, but we have big gaps, we still have some serious gaps, which we’re working to close, ” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, in Vienna, after meeting the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Iran and the Six major powers, the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, began a final round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday, looking for a deal for the Iranians to curb their nuclear development in exchange for the West lifting its economic sanctions.
Minister Steinmeier said the outcome of Iran’s nuclear talks with six world powers was, nevertheless, “completely open.”
So the Germans are optimistic. What a conecept…
“I think I can say that we have never been so close to a deal and that the atmosphere of the negotiations is very constructive, but we should be aware that there are still big gaps on certain issues, ” Steinmeier said, adding: “If Iran is ready to take this opportunity then movement is possible … Whether we can get a result is right now completely open.”
Philip Hammond, British foreign secretary, said on Friday: “We have to get more flexibility from the Iranians … . In return we are prepared to show some flexibility on our side. But time is short. We are up against a deadline [Monday] here.”
So far, the Iranians are refusing to reduce their uranium enrichment capacity, which the West finds unacceptable, because no one wants Iran to have its own atomic bomb some day.
For its part, Iran wants the sanctions to be terminated immediately, not gradually, certainly in correlation with the degree of Iranian compliance with the deal to dismantle its nuclear capabilities.
Also, the Western powers want the curbs on Iran’s nuclear efforts to remain in place for up to 20 years, which Iran rejects.