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Talks over Iran’s nuclear program to end with comma, not full-stop

March 31, 2015, 16:57 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. The closing phase of negotiations by the foreign ministers of the sextet of international mediators (five permanent UN Security Council member-states and Germany) and Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, will most likely bring about a political agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, while a final wording of the treaty will be adopted later, once the technicalities have been coordinated, polled analysts have told TASS.

The Iran-sextet talks are in the final phase. The negotiators have just one day left. The closer the deadline, the tighter the veil of secrecy and speculations over Iran’s nuclear program. As follows from what Western diplomats have been saying, three issues remain unsettled - the date when the agreement may be concluded, the lifting of UN sanctions from Tehran, and their resumption in case the terms of the deal are violated.

"There are two stumbling blocks in the way of the Iranian nuclear program negotiating stampede. The sextet has been urging Tehran to reduce its uranium enrichment program and to retain about 6,000 centrifuges in contrast to the current 10,000. The Iranian authorities seem to have nothing against, but at the same time they are asking a very legitimate question: "What will we get in return?" Billions of dollars have been invested into the Iranian uranium enrichment program already. Naturally, in exchange to its consent to reduce that program Tehran would like to have firm guarantees the US and UN sanctions be lifted. But a question mark still remains over the sanctions and the dates when they may be eased," deputy director of the RAS Institute of US and Canada Studies, Viktor Kremenyuk, told TASS.

"The condition of Russian-US relations is the other stumbling block. Tehran would have been a far easier negotiating partner, had it been aware that its resistance to conclude an agreement over its nuclear program would run against a common front of Washington and Moscow as safeguards of the non-proliferation treaty of 1968. But US-Russia relations are at a record-low now, and Iran uses these contradictions to its advantage, which makes the talks in Lausanne tough-going. There is one more controversy: Where, in what country should Iran keep its enriched uranium? Who will be responsible for monitoring its transportation and who will guarantee that process? No answer yet," Kremenyuk said.

"Given the just-mentioned circumstances, one should not expect a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program will be signed soon. The current phase of negotiations in Lausanne will most probably produce a political declaration to the effect the process is moving in the right direction, that there should be no haste and that the technical details will be agreed in the summer. In other words, they will end with a comma, not with a full-stop," Kremenyuk believes.

Senior research fellow at the RAS Institute of Oriental Studies, Boris Dolgov, has told TASS Israel’s stance is an extra hindrance.

"Tel-Aviv is not a party to the negotiations, but it has been causing considerable effects on them via the pro-Israeli lobbies in the Western countries. It has been calling Iran as the main threat to Israel’s security and accusing Tehran of the intention to make nuclear weapons. The Arab countries’ Storm of Resolve operation against the rebels in Yemen, too, complicates Iran’s positions at the talks, because Saudi Arabia holds it responsible for supporting radical Islamists."

And the president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, is very skeptical about the chances of coming to terms with Iran soon.

"Holding talks with Iran (formerly Persia), a keen bargainer that was trading its carpets around the world back two and a half thousand years ago, when the Western countries had been non-existent yet, is a rather intricate business. Some sort of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program is possible, but I will not dare forecast whether it may materialize today or in a year from now."

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