World powers including the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, led by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, will hold important nuclear talks with Iran on October 15 and 16.
These negotiations will offer a rare chance to initiate diplomacy between the Islamic republic and the West, which suspects that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons.
Over the past few months, under its new leader Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian government reinforced that Tehran was enriching uranium for energy generation and other peaceful purposes only.
The United States, however, said that “U.S. would not be played for suckers” by Hassan Rouhani’s conciliatory tone and demanded Iran to come up with concrete actions “and not just words” to ease concerns.
The New York Times reported that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said his team would present a ‘three-step plan’ before the six major world powers on Tuesday that would secure the country’s civil nuclear program and assure the West of its peaceful atomic activities.
Following are the key issues of the Geneva negotiations, an explanation of what’s at stake between the West and Iran:
The most pressing international concerns revolve around Iran's efforts to enrich uranium.
The West offered to lift sanctions if Tehran suspended its higher and lower level uranium enrichment programs which are reportedly ‘a short technical step’ away from developing a nuclear bomb.
Iran rejected the proposal entirely, calling it an act of Western hypocrisy.
Another way for Iran to appease world powers would be limiting its stockpiles of uranium and send excess material out of the country.
However, this offer was also spurned by Araghchi on Sunday.
“Of course we will negotiate regarding the form, amount, and various levels of (uranium) enrichment, but the shipping of materials out of the country is our red line,” he said.
Iran is expected to open its nuclear programs for greater and intrusive United Nations inspections in order to prove that they do not have any military aims.
The world powers would also want Iran to implement rules that would require it to notify the U.N. of any plans to build new nuclear facilities.
"Although Tehran is unlikely to accept dismantlement of its nuclear programme and facilities, it may be willing to accept enhancements to the IAEA inspection regime," the Arms Control Association, a U.S.-based advocacy and research group told Reuters.
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee is expected to draft tougher sanctions that would be based on legislation passed by the House of Representatives blacklisting Iran's mining and construction sectors and seeking the elimination of worldwide Iranian petroleum sales by 2015.
On Tuesday, Iran expects the West to offer relaxation of nuclear sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. According to data received from a Gallup poll in July, half of Iranians lack adequate money for food, and shelter due to international sanctions.