Iran Nuclear Deal Could Be Close, But Caution Urged

An agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could be reached before talks end tomorrow, according to several sources. Speaking anonymously to Reuters, a German government source said that a deal is close to completion, but warned that success is not guaranteed.

“From the viewpoint of the minister, there are only a few elements missing for a watertight agreement with Iran.” They added “everything can still fail, but we are indeed very close to reaching the goal.”

The BBC reported that the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and John Kerry have also expressed hope that a deal with Iran could be brokered. The talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna are set to end tomorrow, with the details of the agreement still needing to be finalized and approved. Should the deal be approved, it is thought that international sanctions on Iran would be lifted, and, in exchange, Tehran would face restrictions aimed at keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran’s hands.

The L.A. Times reports that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has urged caution, comparing the potential agreement to that with North Korea in 1994. In that case, North Korea did not abide by the agreement, and it appears Netanyahu fears Iran would do the same.

Both sides of the table seem to believe a deal may soon be reached. The BBC reports that Fabius told the press that he believes the negotiations are reaching their conclusion.

“I hope we are finally entering the final phase of these marathon negotiations. I believe it.”

Meanwhile, Iran-based daily the Tehran Times reports that an Iranian official said that a nuclear deal was “within reach.”

“The deal is within reach today, but some issues remain that need to be resolved by foreign ministers.”

Should a deal on Iran’s nuclear program be met, the implications for both Iran and the West are huge. If sanctions are lifted, The Guardian reports that Iran’s oil exports could double.

One sanction that is proving a sticking point, as noted by the Washington Post, is that of conventional arms trading, with the United States fearing that lifting the sanction would give Iran more power in the Middle East.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed caution on the nuclear deal. In a statement, Benjamin Cardin, a Maryland Senator, expressed the lack of trust between the negotiating nations.

“There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting and verifiable outcome.”

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs said “there are some key issues that remain that I hope we will hold firm to.” He went on to express his fear that Iran would still gradually develop a nuclear weapon.

“You know, likely, Iran will cheat by inches, meaning they will just cheat, cheat, cheat. And over time, it’s like boiling an egg.”

Should the Iran nuclear deal go through tomorrow, Congress will be able to review it over 60 days before it goes to a vote.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]