Nuclear negotiations in Geneva between major world powers and Iran picked up again Saturday morning, with all signs pointing towards a deal that would limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief that's close to completion.
The P5+1 countries — China, Russia, France, U.K., U.S. and Germany — reconvened early Saturday morning to continue working on a deal. Deputies and staffers have handled negotiations over the last few days. But Saturday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry, on his second Geneva visit in two weeks, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and the other top diplomats joined the fray . Many see Kerry and Lavrov's attendance as a likely sign a deal is near completion, if not imminent.
"We are not here because things are necessarily finished," British foreign minister William Hague told reporters. "There is a huge amount of agreement...(But) the remaining gaps are important and we will be turning our attention to those over coming hours. They remain very difficult negotiations."
We already know the deal to come out of Geneva will be a short-term commitment, designed to appease both sides enough to facilitate an opportunity for a larger, expanded deal down the road. Iran seemingly wants this deal to happen. After making a deal with U.N. nuclear inspectors for increased access to (some) of the country's nuclear facilities, the country also removed an anti-American billboard campaign in Tehran. Small steps designed to show the west it's ready to make a deal. According to this report in The New York Times, Iran is being asked to:
- Cap uranium enrichment at 3.5 percent enrichment and dilute or eliminate its existing stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.
- Delay construction on the Arak heavy-water reactor, which could potentially produce plutonium when finished, for six months.
- Hold off installation of advanced centrifuges that could, in theory, expedite the construction of a nuclear weapon.