Iran Nuclear Talks End Without a Deal

Iran Describes Nuclear Talks As ‘Positive’

A summit with six world powers about uranium enrichment closes after two days, although they have pledged to meet again.

Participants sit at a table during talks on Iran's nuclear programme in Almaty
SOURCENuclear talks in Almaty have ended after two days

By Tim Marshall, Foreign Affairs Editor

Negotiations between Iran and international powers have ended with only an agreement to meet again.

A breakthrough was not expected during the two days of talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty, but the Iranian side did say they had been “positive”.

Technical negotiations will now be held in Istanbul on March 18 and there will be another round of political talks in early April.

Six world powers, the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China went into the talks hoping to persuade Tehran to reduce its uranium enrichment and close the Fordow plant due to suspicions that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons.

An offer to ease economic sanctions against Iran was on the table.

Iran, which says its enrichment work is only for peaceful purposes, responded by saying it would discuss the offer.

Its chief negotiator Saeed Jalili said the six powers had tried “to get closer to our viewpoint” and was prepared to discuss reducing uranium enrichment at a later date, but appeared to rule out closing Fordow which is buried deep inside a mountain.

If Iran is serious, then the talks could be presented as a small step towards a peaceful resolution of what is feared could turn into a crisis leading to military action. 

The sanctions against Iran do now appear to be hurting the regime in Tehran.

This could be the cause of the slightly more conciliatory tone from Iran at the talks, but in the past Iran has repeatedly played for time, whilst speeding up its enrichment process en route to getting to a “break out” position when it can quickly move to building a weapon.

Possible evidence of that work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, which published a satellite picture of the Arak heavy-water production plant in Iran.

It shows what looks like steam coming from a building. This indicates the production of heavy water which is required to produce plutonium.

If Iran is doing this, it suggests a dual path towards a nuclear weapon.

Both uranium and plutonium can be used to make a nuclear device. 


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