Negotiators Toil to Overcome Divisions in P5+1 Talks

Negotiators Toil to Overcome Divisions in P5+1 Talks Negotiators Toil to Overcome Divisions in P5+1 Talks

Iran and the major powers are struggling to overcome deep divisions on two core sticking points in talks on a possible nuclear deal: reimposing UN sanctions if Iran violates the agreement and how Tehran can buy nuclear technology, Reuters quoted envoys as saying.

According to the UN nuclear agency's reports, Iran has met all its commitments under an interim deal it reached with the major powers in late 2013.     

Negotiators wrapped up nearly a week of talks in New York on Tuesday, the latest round in 18 months of discussions aimed at clinching a long-term deal by June 30 to place constraints on Iran's nuclear program for a specified period of time in exchange for an end to sanctions. The talks took place on the sidelines of a conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The negotiations between Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) will resume in Vienna next week. "The atmosphere of the talks was good and it is possible to reach the final deal by June 30," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said.

However, western diplomats said on condition of anonymity that Iran and the six powers, who struck a framework agreement on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, were far from a final deal because of disagreements on sanctions, monitoring and other issues.

"The UN Security Council sanctions issue is a difficult one," a western diplomat told Reuters about the talks in New York. "It's going to take some time to resolve it and we have to resolve it."

The discussions have revolved around a future Security Council resolution that would endorse a deal and render invalid all previous sanctions resolutions, while keeping UN bans on ballistic missiles, an arms embargo and some other restrictions.


US and European Union negotiators want any easing of UN sanctions to be automatically reversible - negotiators call this a "snapback" - if Tehran fails to comply with the terms of an agreement. Russia and China traditionally dislike such automatic measures.

The "snapback" is one of the most important issues for western governments, who fear that, once any UN sanctions on Iran are suspended, it will be impossible to restore them because Russia and China would veto any such attempt.

"Without a snapback, there will be no nuclear deal," one western diplomat told Reuters.

Restoring US and EU sanctions is relatively easy, but that is not the case with UN sanctions.

Western diplomats are trying to find a method under which Russia and China could not veto a snapback. Moscow, Beijing and Tehran also want to be certain that, if the Republicans win the US presidency in 2016, the United States will not be able to unilaterally force a snapback.

"We haven't found a mechanism that works for everyone yet," one diplomat said.

Another difficult issue is the so-called "procurement channel" - a mechanism for approving Iranian purchases of sensitive nuclear technology currently banned under UN sanctions. One idea under consideration is a vetting committee that would include Iran and the six powers. Tehran would have a say but not a veto, diplomats said. Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and rejects allegations from western countries and their allies that it may be seeking to develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons.