US-Iran nuke talks extended until November
The administration has struck a deal with Iran to extend the neogitations over its nuclear program until November. The US will make available more oil revenue by partially lifting some sanctions while Iran will convert some of its highly enriched uranium into fuel suitable for its research reactor.
Without the extension, the talks were scheduled to end Sunday.
Under Friday's deal, the U.S. will give Tehran access over the next four months to an additional $2.8 billion in oil export revenues frozen abroad by American sanctions, Secretary of State John Kerry said.
The West is seeking commitments from Iran that would prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, and the sides agreed on new steps that go beyond those agreed in November in a six-month interim agreement. That deal took effect on Jan. 20 and provided a framework for the talks. It would have expired on Sunday without the extension.
Iran agreed Friday to take further measures to curtail the most advanced parts of its nuclear program. It will accelerate the conversion of its 20% enriched uranium into fuel for its research reactor, U.S. officials said. That move will make the material significantly harder to reconvert into a form that can be used for a nuclear weapon, they said.
Iran also agreed to dilute its stock of up to 2% enriched uranium into natural uranium, Western officials said, which could slightly lengthen the time it would take to spin that into highly enriched fuel for a nuclear weapon.
Tehran also will allow additional monitoring of its nuclear research work.
The extension came after 16 days of intense negotiations in Vienna, where disagreements over the scale of Iran's future uranium-enrichment program scuttled hopes for an immediate breakthrough.
On Saturday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that while progress had been made at the talks, "significant differences remain on several subjects."
Echoing concerns by other Western officials about the pace of Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency about past work Tehran is suspected of doing on nuclear weapons, he said Tehran must meet its pledge to give new information by Aug. 25.
That, he said, would be an "important signal of Iranian commitment."
The western powers continue to move the goalposts as Iran's intransigence becomes more acute. We've gone from a neogitating position to halt all Iranian enriichment activities to now allowing them to enrich as much uranium as they wish. We have been easing sanctions with little to show for it from Tehran who continue to stonewall on telling us about their past bomb development work.
This extension shows that eventually, Iran will get everything they desire and the president will sign just about any agreement - just as long as he doesn't have to fulfill his pronise to bomb Iran if they build a nuke. It is doubtful that any agreement will prevent Iran from building a bomb in a matter of months if they choose to do so. But if they ever would, the chances are pretty good that Barack Obama will be long gone from office and the blame will fall on his sucessor.