A new deal is emerging from ongoing nuclear talks in Switzerland that requires Iran to stay away from gathering enough fuel to create a nuclear weapon for at least a year, The Wall Street Journal reports
, citing sources close to the diplomatic negotiations.
The so-called "breakout" period for Iran would come as a part of a broader deal and would set the stage for an agreement after two deadlines have passed without a much-anticipated accord limiting Iran's nuclear arsenal amid fears in the unstable region over its future military power, the Journal said.
The "breakout" agreement is likely to include an additional provision that would call for "reduction in the nearly 10,000 centrifuges it now operates and cut its enriched-uranium production," the Journal noted of the specifics moving ahead.
"We believe that we are very close, very close," said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in an interview with NBC News
Details, he added, were still to be worked out as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined the group in Switzerland for 48 hours of "intense and tough" negotiations, the Journal reported.
Zarif told NBC's Ann Curry that discussions had turned to technical aspects of a possible accord.
"We had our head of an atomic energy organization and United States for — the secretary of energy, both — very well known nuclear physicists — in order to reach some sort of a technical understanding. And that proved to be a very important, useful step," Zarif noted. "And we have been able to move forward with a good number of issues dealing with the technicalities."
But he said: "We've made good progress. But long way to go."
Whatever emerges from this latest round of talks, at least some fear for the future if indeed Iran emerges from sanctions and stakes a nuclear future. That warning was sounded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his historic speech to Congress where he argued that current negotiations would amount to nothing but a foot under the door for Iran's long-term nuclear goals.
He called the current discussions a "farewell to arms control," noted the U.K.'s The Guardian
"The foremost sponsor of international terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons — and this with full international legitimacy," Netanyahu warned. "That's why this deal is so bad: it doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb."
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