Skip to comments.Nuclear Talks Between Global Powers Set to Start (Iran)
Posted on 02/05/2013 7:38:43 PM PST by haffast
WASHINGTONIran formally agreed to resume stalled talks with global powers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program, offering the Obama administration's new national-security team a shot at resolving one of the world's most intractable security challenges.
U.S. and European officials said Tuesday they would use the new talks, which are scheduled to begin Feb. 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to offer a slightly revised package of economic incentives. In exchange, Tehran would have to agree to ship its growing stockpile of near weapons-grade nuclear fuel out of the country.
The talks will be an early test for President Barack Obama's new national-security team, which includes Secretary of State John Kerry and former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, if he wins confirmation as expected this week as defense secretary.
Both men have been ardent supporters of negotiations with Iran and wary of any military action against Tehran's nuclear sites. Both also have publicly supported having direct talks between Washington and Tehran.
France and the U.K., in particular, have voiced concerns about the U.S. giving too much ground to Tehran by engaging in direct talks, according to European officials. They have led a decade of atomic diplomacy with Iran, without any breakthroughs.
"There's skepticism toward the U.S. strategy," said another European official involved in the diplomacy.
Mr. Netanyahu's ability, however, to unilaterally launch strikes against Iran is seen as being limited following Israeli elections last month that saw his ruling coalition shrink, according to Mideast officials. The willingness of Mr. Obama's new team to attack Iran if negotiations stall also is seen as limited.
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So, now the US can sit on the same side of the table as Iran.