Nuclear Talks: Protracted Negotiations Likely
BMI View: Following recent progress in talks on Iran's nuclear programme, we reaffirm our core view that talks will continue over the coming year s , with potential for a long-term agreement to be found . However, we cannot preclude a breakdown in talks over the coming quarters, which could unleash a Western military response.
Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries - China, France, Russia, the UK and the US plus Germany - agreed during talks in Vienna on a timetable for negotiating an end to the confrontation over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, it was announced on February 20. Talks in Vienna follow a joint plan of action agreed upon in November in Geneva, when Iran and the 5+1 powers clinched a landmark interim deal paving the way for a partial easing of sanctions ( see 'Interim Nuclear Deal: Key Implications', November 25 2013).
According to officials, the atmosphere during the latest talks was reportedly constructive and businesslike. Although delegates refused to describe the topics for the meetings, a senior US official said "Every issue of concern to us is on the table," including uranium enrichment, Iran's heavy-water reactor project and its suspected nuclear military research and ballistic missile programme. According to the ongoing plan, a six-month interim arrangement agreed in November, which expires on July 20, could be extended by an additional six months should both parties agree.
|Fordow and Arak Are Key|
|Iran - Main Nuclear Facilities|