December 17, 2012
Iran talks to resume soon, reports say
Iran and the six major world powers it deals with on nuclear issues are preparing for talks, according to multiple reports.
Meetings between Iran and representatives of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany could come as soon as the week before the New Year, the Washington Post reported over the weekend.
The six countries will offer Iran assistance on its civilian nuclear program and a lifting on a ban of the sale of airplane parts in exchange for verifiable limits on activities that could relate to a suspected nuclear weapons program, the newspaper said.
Iran, too, appears ready for new talks.
"The two sides (Iran and the world powers) have reached a conclusion that they must exit the current stalemate," Irani Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as telling the independent Iranian Students' News Agency, according to a report Monday by Reuters.
Israel wants an end to all uranium enrichment, while the major powers have suggested that they will settle for enrichment for civilian purposes.
The Obama administration this year persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to step back from threats of military action at least until the spring to see if tightening economic sanctions and diplomatic outreach could achieve a breakthrough.
Both governments remain in close contact on the issue. Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for military affairs, met with Israeli officials from Dec. 12 to 14, just as news of renewed talks with Iran was leaked.
On Dec. 13, the Obama administration announced new sanctions targeting individuals and entities affiliated with Iranian nuclear research and development.
Congress is considering new sanctions, over Obama administration objections, that would target entities that circumvent banking sanctions by trading oil for bullion with Iran.
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