Will politics kill a deal on Iran?

The deadline for Iran nuclear talks has now been extended by seven months. Yesterday, Joseph Cirincione wrote:

If it were left to the negotiators, we would have a deal already. Those close to the talks say that they have crafted technical solutions that can prevent Iran from using its program to build a bomb and verify any attempt to cheat.

The track record is encouraging. Iran has fully complied with the interim agreement negotiated last November. For the first time in a decade, progress on the program has been halted and even reversed. Iran has stopped enriching uranium over 5 percent and eliminated the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned 2 years ago could give Iran the core material for a bomb within “weeks.”

Iran is further away from a bomb today than before this interim deal. The nuclear sites are under unprecedented inspections. Some issues of compliance have arisen, but have been resolved. A comprehensive agreement could provide verifiable assurance that Iran’s program remains non-military, and impose intrusive inspections to provide substantial warning of cheating, break-out or “sneak-out.”

The main problems are political. Hardliners in Iran and the United States remain opposed to any deal. [Continue reading…]

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