Officials Downplay Claims that Kazakhstan Meeting Is 'Last Chance'
With nuclear talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan set to resume thing week, US officials say that all the blame for any failure of the talks will lie with the Iranian government, saying it is simply up to Iran to accept the proposal made at the last Almaty summit, in late February.
Iran came out of the first Almaty summit optimistic, but that evaporated after an interim meeting in Istanbul last week to discuss details, which ended with the impression that the US-backed proposal demanded more than it initially seemed of Iran, while offering less than initially advertised in the form of sanctions relief.
The P5+1 are trying to talk Iran into ending all 20 percent enrichment, and to end all ongoing activities at their civilian enrichment facility in Fordow. The concessions for all of this are, by the most recent indications, that Iran would be allowed small amounts of “grey market” bartering in gold, while the vast majority of sanctions would remain in place, even though a large chunk of Iran’s civilian nuclear program would be abandoned.
Iran is reluctant to make a deal where they give up more than they get, because it would leave them with little to offer in future talks in return for ending the more crippling aspects of the US sanctions and set the stage for an Iraq-style long-term sanctions regime.
US officials today are trying to downplay reports that this week’s Almaty talks are, win or lose, the “last chance,” though other officials have given the impression in recent comments that time is “almost up,” and reports have suggested that Almaty II will set the stage for a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran in early summer.
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