Iran Talks Breakthrough Has One-in-Three Chance, Carnegie Says

The chances of a breakthrough in talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear program are now as high as one in three, said Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Things are moving,” Trenin, director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, the Russian branch of the Washington-based research group, said in an interview today. Iran’s ambassador in Moscow, Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, said April 25 that his country is considering a Russian proposal to halt the expansion of its nuclear program to avert new sanctions.

“The Russian proposal is a good proposal from most points of view, it doesn’t constrain the Iranian scientific research,” said Trenin. “They realize that trying to move to weapons grade will cost them too much.”

Russia, one of the six world powers negotiating with Iran, says the deal would be the first in a series of mutual concessions designed to end in an accord that would remove suspicions about Iranian intent regarding atomic weapons.

Under the proposal, Iran would stop building centrifuges, machines used to enrich uranium, and mothball ones that haven’t been put into use yet.

Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members -- the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia and France -- plus Germany met in Istanbul this month for the first talks in 15 months. The next round, in Baghdad, is scheduled for May 23.

Agreement on the Russian proposal might be hard to reach before July 1, when the European Union is planning to impose an embargo on oil from Iran, said Trenin. The EU might delay the ban to win “a little bit more room for maneuver,” he said.

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