US, Iran explore options of 10-year nuclear freeze
The US and Iran are exploring an option of a 10-year freeze on Tehran's nuclear activities, a possible compromise between the two sides to reach a deal before the end of the deadline, a media report said today.
Washington: The US and Iran are exploring an option of a 10-year freeze on Tehran's nuclear activities, a possible compromise between the two sides to reach a deal before the end of the deadline, a media report said today.
No deal has been reached yet but significant progress in the talks of the P5+1 nations (China, Russia, the UK, the US, France and Germany) with the Islamic republic ended on a positive note in Swiss city of Geneva, officials said.
"The US and Iran are exploring a nuclear deal that would keep Tehran from amassing enough material to make a bomb for at least a decade, but could then allow it to gradually build up its capabilities again," The Wall Street Journal reported.
Iran has insisted on no more than a 10-year freeze, it added.
Such a deal would represent a significant compromise by the US, which had sought to restrain Tehran's nuclear activities for as long as 20 years.
According to the daily, the US has been pushing for a freeze that would establish a period of time during which Iran would remain at least 12 months away from being able to fuel an atomic bomb?a so-called breakout period.
Asked if Iran must accept that breakout period through the lifetime of an accord, a US official signaled that may not be necessary, the daily said.
"We have always said that we would have a one-year breakout time for a double-digit number of years and that remains the case," the official was quoted as saying.
Such a move has been opposed by Republican leadership and expressed concern over such a long time frame.
"If you're going to do all of this and then just end up with a 10-year agreement, you just really haven't accomplished near what people had hoped," said Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The White House reiterated that the chances of a deal is 50-50.
"The President and I have, on a number of occasions when asked this question, noted that our odds of reaching an agreement with Iran are 50-50 at best. I think that continues to be a fair assessment of where things stand," the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said.
There should be an opportunity for us to reach an agreement about this. But there are some in the Iranian regime who are reluctant to make that kind of commitment, he said.
Two deadlines for a permanent agreement have been missed since a November 2013 interim deal in which Iran was given limited sanctions relief in exchange for diluting its stock of fissile material from 20 per cent enriched uranium to five per cent.