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Clock Ticking Down on Iran Nuke Talks

Nuclear talks with Iran are on again, as the world gears up for yet another round of negotiations and Iran hastens its uranium enrichment program at the Natanz facility. Expectations are low among the “E3 plus 3” negotiating coalition (the UK, France, Germany, the U.S., China, and Russia) for what could be one of the last international diplomatic efforts to talk the mullahs out of their nukes before Iran’s elections this summer. The FT reports:

At meetings with Iran last year, the six powers … offered to scale back some international sanctions on Tehran in return for moves to halt certain nuclear activities.

They called on Iran to close its second enrichment plant at Fordow, end production of more highly enriched uranium and ship its existing stock of 20 per cent enriched uranium out of the country. In return they offered what was in effect a symbolic first step to end sanctions.

In Astana, the E3 plus three would offer to scale back sanctions slightly if Iran took the required action, diplomats said. However, Iran is asking for far more substantial concessions than the six powers are prepared to give and expectations of success are low.

A resumption in talks may sound like good news, but the situation is actually becoming more dangerous, not less. The West keeps ratcheting up economic sanctions, with no serious concessions from the mullahs in response. Time is running out.

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