Though significant roadblocks still remain, diplomats are cautiously optimistic after two days of talks centered around Iran’s nuclear program, SRN News reports. Policymakers from the six major powers—United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany—are hoping for an interim deal under which Tehran would restrain its contested nuclear program in exchange for some relief from punitive sanctions.
Some of that relief would come from the United States, which may agree to relax pressure on other countries not to buy Iranian oil. Tehran would like to resume oil exports, and getting respite from international sanctions might go a long way in negotiations.
However, Iran insists the six powers explicitly acknowledge its right to enrich uranium—a process that can yield electricity and nuclear weapons. This has become a major sticking point in the talks thus far.
Still, both sides seem optimistic. “We’re currently working on a text, the majority of provisions of which there is common understanding on, and this points to progress,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, was quoted as saying by Iran’s IRNA news agency.
"A lot of progress was made, but of course differences remain in our plan. Our hope is to narrow some of those differences," said Michael Mann, spokesman for E.U. Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, reports CNB News.
If a preliminary agreement is reached for a six-month suspension of some of Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activity, the six powers and Tehran will use that time to hammer out a broader and longer-term accord.