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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Breakthrough in the P 5+1 talks with Iran?

@Haaretz 's @BarakRavid has details on why a deal between the P 5+1 and Iran might be possible.
The Iranians surprised the representatives of the six powers when they presented their own alternative proposal, the diplomats said.
That proposal included, for the first time, concessions regarding their stockpile of enriched uranium, as well as a bid to cut the number of old-generation centrifuges by one third.
The Iranians proposed they keep 6,000 centrifuges out of the 9,400 for the first 10 years of the agreement, and keep 500 kilograms of their low-enriched uranium, or, alternatively, to operate 6,500 centrifuges and only retain 300 kilograms of their low-enriched uranium, the diplomats said. After 10 years, with only five years left on the agreement, the Iranian proposal would gradually increase the number of centrifuges to the number they have today, the diplomats added.
But proponents of a deal should not be celebrating just yet.
However, among the unresolved issues is the Iranian demand that all sanctions be lifted immediately upon signing the agreement, whereas the United States and the other powers want the sanctions lifted gradually if Iran is seen to be meeting its obligations.
Another stumbling block is Iran’s continuing refusal of the world powers’ demand to fully open all aspects of its military nuclear program to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Commission.
The diplomats say that, considering the issues still in dispute, it is difficult to imagine the parties coming to an agreement by March 30. If such an agreement does emerge, because of an Iranian and American need to show progress, it will be a general document of principles only and will not include details on the outstanding bones of contention.
Meanwhile, Iran apparently has no intention of giving up.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Friday announced it has test fired a "new strategic weapon" in the final day of a large-scale naval and air defense drill, saying the system would play a key role in any future battle against the United States.

The claim was a new show of force by Iran just weeks ahead of a deadline for reaching a deal over its nuclear program with the U.S. and other global powers.
Iran announced the test on the final day of military drills it is calling "Great Prophet 9." The exercises are being held near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes.
Iran often holds live-fire war games and frequently boasts of advances in its weaponry that cannot be independently verified. The latest drill, which included a simulated attack on an American aircraft carrier, appears to be aimed at sending a message that Iran has no intention of backing down to the U.S. in the nuclear talks.
Adm. Ali Fadavi, the Republican Guard's naval chief, said the new weapon would be critical in any future naval war against the U.S.
Of course, strategic weapons aren't part of the P 5+1 negotiations.

I want to go back and address Barak Ravid's last line:
“The challenge is for those who oppose the agreement like Netanyahu. They must present an alternative that will produce better results,” a senior U.S. official said over the weekend.
Really? Silly me. I thought even Obama believed that no deal is better than a bad deal

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