Talks With P5+1 Breathtaking

Talks With P5+1 Breathtaking Talks With P5+1 Breathtaking

A senior nuclear negotiator has said the talks between Iran and the major powers on a final nuclear deal have reached a "breathtaking" stage.

"The nuclear negotiations have reached a breathtaking point and the two sides have gone into details," IRNA on Friday quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying.

"The people are waiting to hear news about the talks, but our policy is to insist on rights and not to cross red lines," he said.

"We are ready for solutions to ease concerns if our nuclear rights are preserved and our red lines observed," he added.

He also said, "We were hopeful that the nuclear talks could make progress using the opportunity of the United Nations General Assembly, but it did not happen."

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) started a new round of talks on a comprehensive nuclear deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program in New York on September 19. A November 24 target date has been set for hammering out a long-term settlement to the issue. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and US Secretary of State John Kerry held a trilateral meeting in New York late on Thursday to help advance the nuclear talks.

  Never So Close to Deal     

The German foreign minister said on Thursday the major powers had never been so close to a deal with Iran that would resolve the decade-long nuclear standoff once and for all, Reuters reported.  

"We have never been so close to a deal as now. But the truth is that the final phase of the talks that lay before us is probably the most difficult," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after meeting President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"Now is the time to end this conflict. I hope that Iran ... in view of the situation in the world and the situation in the Middle East, knows and senses that a collapse of the talks now is not permissible."

  Sherman Cites Progress in Talks

The chief US negotiator at nuclear talks also said in an interview with VOA on Thursday that optimism for a final deal remains.

“I believe we are making progress,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said, referring to the ongoing talks in New York.  

“That said, there are still some very crucial decisions that need to be made,” she noted.

“This is a very, very complicated negotiation, very technically detailed,” she said. “I think we have made progress while we’ve been here during the UN General Assembly and many leaders and virtually every foreign minister of the P5+1 has had a bilateral with Iran, and it has helped to improve our understanding.”

  US to Soften Demands

Diplomats told the Associated Press on Thursday that the US is considering softening present demands that Iran drastically reduce its uranium enrichment program in favor of a new proposal that would allow Tehran to keep nearly half of the project intact while placing other constraints on its enrichment capacity.

The US ideally wants no more than 1,500 centrifuges left operating. Iran insists it wants to use the technology only to make reactor fuel and for other peaceful purposes and insists it be allowed to run at least the present 9,400 machines.

The tentative new US offer attempts to meet the Iranians close to half way on numbers, said two diplomats who demanded anonymity because their information is confidential. They said it envisages letting Iran keep up to 4,500 centrifuges but would reduce the stock of uranium gas fed into the machines. The diplomats emphasized that the proposal is only one of several being discussed by the six powers — the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — and has not yet been formally submitted to the Iranians.

Other ideas also include letting Iran have more than 1,500 machines but removing much of the infrastructure needed to make them run — wiring, pipes used to feed uranium gas and other auxiliary equipment.