Talks With Iran Continue Over Its Nuclear Program

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry at talks Iran's nuclear program in ViennaTalks between Iran, the United States, and five other world powers are resuming Wednesday after missing a Tuesday deadline to agree on a temporary framework of a deal that will scale back Iran’s nuclear program and lift crippling sanctions on Iran.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a breakthrough occurred during the talks which ran through early Wednesday morning in Switzerland and a preliminary agreement was done “on all the key aspects” of the deal that is being worked out between the six world powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, United States) and Iran.

Lavrov said the drafting of the text is already underway.

“We can quite certainly say that on all the key aspects of the final settlement of this problem, the ministers have reached principal consent that will be hopefully in the next couple of hours, maybe a day, put on paper” Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday.

American diplomats denied that a preliminary agreement was reached yet and explained that were still more issues to resolve.

A preliminary agreement would set in motion the necessary framework that is needed before a final agreement can be reached on June 30th.

Although Tehran insists that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, some of Iran’s neighbors such as Israel are skeptical and guarded about six world powers forging a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu remains suspicious of Tehran’s motives and gave a fiery speech before Congress last month, warning U.S. lawmakers to not sign a nuclear deal with Tehran that could last for 10 years.

The U.S. Congress, led by Republicans, has threatened to slap more sanctions on Iran if a preliminary agreement isn’t reached this week but U.S. President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that places more sanctions on Iran.

Some of the main sticking points that have stalled the talks centers around the scope of Iran’s enriched uranium, where to place Iran’s existing fissile material, the timeline for sanctions to be lifted, and whether the sanctions will be resumed if Iran violates the terms of the deal.

The full agreement in June would enact strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program so that the international community would have up to a year to confront Iran if Tehran gives the approval to build a nuclear bomb.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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