Tags: physicists | MIT | Iran | nuclear talks

MIT-Linked Physicists Play Key Roles in Iran Nuclear Talks

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 09:29 AM

The American and Iranian nuclear physicists responsible for working out the technical details in international negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program share a decades old connection to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have been in Lausanne, Switzerland, dealing with the big picture. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, meanwhile, are engaged in nitty-gritty talks over Iran's future nuclear-fuel capacity, its nuclear stockpile, its heavy-water reactor, and how to verify Iran will not cheat if a deal is reached.

Salehi was a doctoral student at MIT while Moniz was an assistant professor in the physics department. The men did not know each other at the time — the mid-1970s — when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also on campus studying management and politics, according to the Journal.

Salehi served as foreign minister under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. U.N. Atomic Energy Agency officials are still unsure whether he personally played a role in alleged weaponization of Iranian nuclear material.

He is believed to have Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's endorsement to make a deal, if possible, according to the Journal.

Moniz, recognizable by his shoulder-length silver hair, and Salehi, with his neatly trimmed beard and tieless business suit, have held roughly a dozen face-to-face meetings. Their mandate is to work out a deal intended to guarantee that Teheran will not preserve a capability to rapidly manufacture atomic weapons, according to the Journal.

"Few people in Iran know more about Iran's nuclear program from its beginnings than Dr. Salehi," Olli Heinonen, formerly of the U.N.'s Atomic Energy Agency, told the Journal.

Moniz is coordinating with American atomic scientists at prestigious nuclear laboratories such as Lawrence Livermore in California. The American nuclear experts are constructing a paradigm that would tell them how much time — given any deal that may be reached — it would take Iran to "break out" and produce a nuclear weapon should the Islamic Republic decide to do so.

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The American and Iranian nuclear physicists responsible for working out the technical details in international negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program share a decades old connection to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Wall Street Journal reported.
physicists, MIT, Iran, nuclear talks
339
2015-29-18
Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 09:29 AM
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