Monday, February 25, 2013

Iran-World Power Talks in Almaty

A new round of talks between Iran and world powers over the country’s nuclear program opened today in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The talks are the first since June 2012 meeting in Moscow.

From the Iranian point of view, the most important topic is the lifting of economic sanctions. The West enacted the sanctions hoping to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At the talks, the most important topic for the West is Iran’s 20-percent uranium enrichment. It wants it stopped, the country’s current inventory of 20-percent uranium transferred abroad and the main facility producing it, Fordo, to be closed. Iran contends its 20-percent enrichment program is within the NPT limits and will not be ready to give it up without settling the sanctions issue with the West.
Reports circulated before the talks began seem to indicate that the West will offer updated proposals for sanctions relief as well as a suggestion for frequent meetings, at least at technical level, between the two sides in the coming months, with the first of such meetings to be held before the Iranian new year on 21 March. In turn they would put forward their demands on 20-percent uranium enrichment.

The Iranians have said they will not put any new proposal on the table beyond what they suggested in Moscow and are expected to call for immediate lifting of all sanctions. They believe they have so far survived the sanctions and consequently hold the upper hand. It’s yet to be seen if they’ll be able to hold temptations to overplay their hand.

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