Iran Nuclear Talks Extend Another Day As Focus Shifts To Sanctions, Centrifuge Machines

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Negotiations between Iran, and six major powers that includes the United States extended through the early hours of Thursday morning after missing a March 31st deadline to reach a preliminary agreement that could pave the way for a more comprehensive final agreement to be reached at the end of June that is aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

If a preliminary agreement is reached by the two sides this week, it will mark the end 12 years of diplomatic negotiations and ease concerns over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius recently flew back to Lousanne, Switzerland to re-attend the negotiations after leaving for Paris the previous day due to the lack of progress in the talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier plan to stay in Switzerland until at least Thursday to work on  the details of the preliminary framework agreement that places restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, reduces Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb, and lifts crippling sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy, most notably in their financial, gas, and oil sectors.

Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian negotiator, announced on Wednesday that any deal between the two sides should remove all Iranian sanctions.

Araqchi said that minor but key problems still remain in front of the two sides, mostly regarding sanctions as well as research and development on Iran’s advanced centrifuge machines.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that it is in the best interests of the United States and its international partners to pursue diplomacy with Iran.

Earnest said that the United States and its international partners are “engaged in this effort because we believe that diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Conservatives in the U.S. Congress are threatening to slap new sanctions on Iran unless an agreement can be reached this week.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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