(Washington, D.C.)--After three days of talks in Vienna, diplomats representing Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) said that negotiators remain focused on reaching a comprehensive and verifiable deal that limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for phased sanctions relief by Nov. 24.
Both sides said that progress was made on difficult issues and the focus remains on reaching an agreement by Nov. 24, although tough issues must still be resolved. Iranian officials said talks would resume in three to four weeks.
Analysts from the independent, Arms Control Association who have been closely monitoring developments expressed cautious optimism.
"If both sides are flexible and creative, a comprehensive deal that limits Iran's nuclear program and puts in place intrusive monitoring is possible by Nov. 24," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
"Both sides will need to make some tough choices in the coming weeks to reach an agreement by the end of November, particularly on uranium enrichment, which is a key sticking point in the talks," he said.
Iran is opposing decreases to its current enrichment capacity and wants to increase its domestic enrichment over time to provide fuel for nuclear power reactors. The P5+1, however, want to reduce Iran's current capacity and base enrichment on Tehran's current practical needs.
"There are realistic options available that would meet the bottom line needs of both sides on this key issue. Finding the right combination of measures including curtailing the number of centrifuges for a period of several years, regulating new centrifuge research, reducing the stockpile and form of enriched uranium, and providing Iran with fuel supplies in advance for its one operating light-water power reactor at Bushehr, can meet the core concerns of both sides," Kimball said.
"Reaching a comprehensive agreement is critical to guarding against a nuclear-armed Iran in the future. A comprehensive agreement will put a more robust international monitoring and inspections regime in place, giving the international community the ability to quickly detect any such effort. Inspectors on the ground is the best way to verify that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons," said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association.
"Opponents of a deal should realize that the costs of failure--an unrestrained Iranian nuclear program and increased sanctions or military strikes--are too high. As with any negotiation, neither side can get everything it wants. But with a little flexibility and creativity, they can get what they need," Davenport said.
The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.