Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks Resume on 26 February

0620 GMT: Nuclear Watch. After weeks of manoeuvring and apparent deadlock, Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia) have agreed to resume nuclear talks on 26 February in Kazakhstan.

Talks about talks in December and January failed to establish a date and venue for high-level negotiations, including a last-minute collapse of an arrangement to meet in Istanbul at the end of last month. The sticking point has been the agenda: the US and Europe had not moved far from the "stop, ship, and shut" demand that Iran cease its enrichment of 20% uranium and send all stocks out of the country. Tehran has insisted that any move towards suspension must be matched from the outset by a recognition of its right to enrich, say to 5%, and an easing of sanctions.

There was no indication yesterday how this dispute was resolved to the point where the two sides would go to Kazakhstan, their first meeting since last June in Moscow.

In two interviews on Tuesday --- to be posted on EA later this morning --- I argue that the discussions are unlikely to bring resolution and are probably a "place-holder" before Iran has to focus on the domestic priority of June's Presidential elections. They are significant, however, because they put out the image of continuing talks --- thus staving off the alternative, opposed by both sides, of an Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

What is unclear, however, is how Iran will cope with several more months of sanctions, assuming there is no immediate breakthrough. A new round of US sanctions, seeking to choke off Tehran's financial transactions, is due for implementation today.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping