U.S. official: final drafting of Iran nuke deal in May

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran. (File photo: Reuters)

The final drafting for a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran will start next month, a U.S. official told the Associated Press, adding expressed hope that a comprehensive pact could be reached in July.

The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity and said negotiators were to meet again next week in Vienna.

The United States and its partners are trying to remove the threat of Iran assembling an atomic arsenal, something Iran has long denied it is trying to do.

While Iran describes its nuclear program as peaceful, Washington and many other countries aren’t convinced and have pressed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Deadlocked diplomacy ended

More than a decade of deadlocked diplomacy ended last year with an interim agreement providing Iran limited easing of international sanctions for strict limits on its uranium enrichment and potential plutonium production - materials that can be used in nuclear warheads.

So far, the Obama administration and the United Nations say Iran has honored the six-month agreement.

It expires in July and may be extended by another six months, a possibility that has prompted significant concern among Israel, Sunni Arab governments and skeptics of diplomacy in the U.S. Congress.

They fear Iran is buying for time while refining its nuclear technology and reaping billions of dollars from eased conditions in key sectors such as the automotive and petrochemicals industries.

The U.S. official said the goal remains to seal a final pact before July 20, without the need for a six-month extension.

The official said much of the work remaining was technical in nature, but noted that nothing had yet been agreed.

Sanctions

The U.N., U.S., and EU have all imposed sanctions to guarantee that Iran will not develop an atomic arsenal.

However, Boeing Co, the world’s biggest airplane maker, on Friday said it had received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to export certain spare parts for commercial aircraft to Iran under a temporary sanctions relief deal that began in January.

On the same day, a Chinese man, an Iranian and two Iranian firms were charged in the United States with conspiring to export devices to Iran that can serve to enrich uranium, Agence France-Presse reported.

U.S. prosecutors say Shanghai-based Sihai Cheng conspired with Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili of Tehran and the Iranian companies Nicaro Eng. Co. and Eyvaz Technic Manufacturing Co. to export U.S.-made pressure transducers.

The devices, which are a type of sensor, can be used in gas centrifuges to “convert natural uranium into a form that can be used for nuclear weapons,” the indictment said.

(With the Associated Press and AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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