Tentative Iran nuclear deal reached in Lausanne after marathon negotiations

 (By Deutsche Welle) World powers and Iran have agreed to a framework that could end the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. In exchange for limitations on enrichment, sanctions targeting nuclear research will be lifted.

Iran and world powers have reached a diplomatic breakthrough that could lead to a final settlement of the 12-year-long confrontation over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. That’s the clear message that emerged from marathon talks in Lausanne, which ran two days past a self-imposed Tuesday deadline well into Thursday evening local time.

“Today we have taken a decisive step,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after eight days of talks. “We have reached solutions on key parameters of a joint comprehensive plan of action. The political determination, the goodwill, and the hard work of all parties made it possible.”

Iran, the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany would now move to draft the text of a final settlement by June 30th, according to Mogherini. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif subsequently read the same statement in Farsi.

A diplomatic breakthrough in Switzerland wasn’t a foregone conclusion. During the eight days of talks, stubborn differences had emerged over how long limitations on Iranian nuclear research should last and the pace at which sanctions should be lifted.

“In essence, it’s about trying with one single agreement to overcome not just differences over a nuclear issue, but fundamentally beyond that overcome almost four decades of suspicion between Iran on the one hand and particularly the United States on the other hand,” Alex Vatanka, an Iran analyst at the Middle East Institute, told DW.

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Western allies running out of options to stop Iran nuke program

(By Deutsche Welle) Although newly released evidence suggests Iran may be researching a nuclear weapon, Western allies have few policy options to stop the program during a period of economic crisis and war weariness.

The United Nation’s atomic watchdog has accused Iran of making designs for a nuclear weapon in clear violation of international conventions, provoking renewed calls for tighter economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic and stirring up rumors of Israeli plans to launch a military strike against one of the largest and most populous nations in the Middle East.

In its most unequivocal judgment to date on Iran’s nuclear program, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Wednesday that it has obtained evidence indicating Tehran has tried to source uranium destined for use in the warhead of a missile re-entry vehicle, the Shahab 3. The Agency also indicated that Iran has developed detonators and built a facility at the Parchin military complex consistent with nuclear-related explosives testing.

Although Iran reportedly issued a halt on weapons-related research in 2003 after the US invasion of Iraq, the IAEA indicated that some aspects of the research continued afterward and may be on-going. This does not mean, however, that Tehran has made a definitive political decision to actually construct an atomic bomb. Iran claims that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes.

“The whole point of this report was to show Iran’s intentions,” Dina Esfandiary, with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told Deutsche Welle. “It’s hard now for somebody to claim that Iran’s weapons program is solely for civilian purposes, because there’s no point in weaponizing if it’s solely for civilian purposes.”

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