Last week, world powers once again tried to reach a deal on Iran's burgeoning nuclear program. The clock is ticking: There's 60 days to go before the interim agreement expires.
But if they're going to come up with a pact, all have to agree on what Iran can and can't do with nuclear fuel.
This week's Vienna meeting was the fourth round of negotiations between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia since February with the goal of a long-term deal by July 20.
Diplomats have disclosed that some headway was made during the previous three rounds on one of the thorniest issues - the future of Iran's planned Arak heavy-water reactor. The West worry it could prove a source of plutonium for nuclear bombs once operational but Iran has offered to alter its configuration so that any plutonium output would be minimal and insignificant.
But diplomats say the positions remain far apart on the issue of pivotal concern for the West: Iran's capacity to refine uranium, which can be used to generate electricity but also, if processed further, provides material for a nuclear bomb.
On The Daily Circuit, we get three perspectives on the talks, politics and what success or failure might mean in the nuclear negotiations.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TALKS:
• As Nuclear Talks Intensify, Iran's Approach to Enrichment May Be A Show-Stopper
Given the significant number of complicated issues to be resolved--not least the phasing of sanctions-easing steps -- it will take a herculean effort by the negotiators to finish by July 20. Still, if Iran comes to the conclusion very soon that its near- and medium-term uranium enrichment needs are modest, an agreement by then may be possible. (Brookings)
• Iran Slow to Answer Nuclear Questions
Western officials are voicing concerns that slow progress in Iran's discussions with the United Nations atomic agency could harm negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear deal. (Wall Street Journal)
• Three perspectives on Iran (MPR News, The Daily Circuit)
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