Carnegie’s James Acton discussed Iran’s nuclear talks and trade sanctions on Bloomberg News’ Bottom Line. Acton told Bloomberg News that the big unknown at this point is how much Iran is willing to concede in its enrichment program in order to get sanctions relief. While Iran wishes to remove all sanctions immediately, the United States and its allies would like to see the sanctions removed gradually.
“There are stories coming out of the negotiations that the number of centrifuges that Iran would be permitted to operate has been agreed,” Acton said. “It’s also been reported that one of the big undecideds is the pace at which Iran demands sanctions relief," he added.
Another component to the negotiations is that many members of Congress, along with Israel, do not trust the Iranians. “Trust but verify is exactly the policy that the Obama administration is adopting for this negotiation,” Acton told Bloomberg News. “In major parts of any agreement—should one be reached—would be intrusive inspections on Iran’s program that go above and beyond additional standards,” he added.
“The Obama administration firmly believes that Iran should not be allowed to get nuclear weapons. The question is how to prevent that from happening, and [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s proposal is completely divorced from reality in terms of any likelihood it will work," Acton concluded.