Diplomats: Little progress so far in Iran nuke talks

 

Diplomats say they are making little progress in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program as the July 20 deadline approaches, The Associated Press reports.

Two diplomats involved in the talks told the AP there is a disagreement over limits Iran would accept in return for full relief from Western sanctions.

The most significant sticking point in the talks is uranium enrichment. Iran currently has 20,000 centrifuges and has previously stated it needs 50,000 centrifuges to fuel its existing nuclear reactor.

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The United States, however, doesn’t want Iran to increase its enrichment activities, fearing that it could be used to produce a nuclear weapon. Iranian officials have said their government’s program is only for civilian, peaceful uses.

A final round of negotiations began in Vienna, Austria, last week between the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, China, Russia and Iran. In less than two weeks, the interim agreement that has curbed Iran’s nuclear program for the last six months expires. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif last week struck a hard line, saying his country wouldn't accept any last-minute demands from the U.S. and its allies.

Secretary of State John Kerry also stressed in an op-ed that time is running out to achieve a deal and that it’s now up to Iran. If it agrees to a series of verifiable measures that ensures a peaceful nuclear program, Iran would receive phased relief from nuclear-related sanctions, Kerry said.