Iran Nuclear Talks Begin in Istanbul
The United States and five other global powers began a new round of negotiations in Istanbul to discuss Tehran's controversial nuclear program. Heading into the closed-door meetings, diplomats had low expectations of a significant breakthrough (al-Jazeera). The United States and its allies have repeatedly voiced concerns that Iran is enriching uranium beyond its peaceful needs and trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran has refused to halt its program, maintaining that its enrichment is for civil purposes only (NYT). Western diplomats hope the talks will persuade Iran to engage in a "fuel-swap plan" (BBC) that will exchange the country's low-enriched uranium for fuel for a research reactor. In official statements (Haaretz), Iran stated that it "will not allow any talks linked to freezing or suspending of enrichment activities to be discussed at the meeting." Analysts expect Iran to push a general discussion on global disarmament (Guardian), Israel's nuclear capabilities, and concerns over U.S. military bases in the Middle East.
In the Financial Times, CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is beginning an attempt to consolidate his power in Iran.
This editorial in the Jerusalem Post warns against a wavering sense of urgency in the diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.
In the Christian Science Monitor, Matthew Fuhrmann and Todd S. Sechser warn against the hysteria over nuclear weapons and blackmail that underlies the calls for military force against Iran.
This CFR interactive presents a timeline exploring the history of U.S.-Iran relations.