Diplomats Speculate on Chances of Nuclear Deal

Diplomats Speculate on Chances of Nuclear Deal   Diplomats Speculate on Chances of Nuclear Deal

With less than one month remaining until the target date to reach a comprehensive agreement between Iran and its negotiating partners over Tehran's nuclear program, diplomats are speculating on the chances of striking a final nuclear accord by November 24 and believe an extension would likely be needed.

Robert Einhorn, a nuclear expert who previously served on the US nuclear negotiating team, said, "In terms of completing the comprehensive deal by November 24, I would say the probability is very near zero."

If the parties “reached agreement on a cluster of issues, they would have a strong case to justify taking several more months… that may or may not be possible,” Einhorn told an Arms Control Association conference this month, according to Al-Monitor. Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are trying to build on an interim nuclear accord they reached in Geneva last November to hammer out a long-term settlement to the nuclear dispute, which has dragged on for over a decade.

The two sides said the most recent round of high-level nuclear talks in the Austrian capital Vienna made "some progress", but major differences on various issues remain to be resolved.

The future scope of Iran's nuclear enrichment capacity, the mechanism and speed of lifting sanctions, the duration of the final deal, the Arak heavy-water reactor, and the underground fordo enrichment facility are the main stumbling blocks in the talks. Another unnamed western diplomat close to negotiations said on Monday chances to conclude a definitive pact with Iran "are very slim", AFP reported.

"The ball is in Iran's court" and Tehran would have to make "significant gestures."

He also claimed that the divisions between the two sides remained great.

  AIPAC bid

Meanwhile, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and hawks in the US congress are reportedly lobbying hard to sabotage a deal between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. AIPAC is urging lawmakers to kill the deal and start a new round of anti-Iran sanctions.

According to a New York Times report last week some Israeli officials see a congressional vote "as the best way to constrain Obama administration's deal with Iran."  Dozens of American NGOs recently expressed "deep concern" over the US congress’s attempts to derail what they see as "final weeks of sensitive diplomacy."

The organizations lamented "Irresponsible threats to oppose any comprehensive agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program."