The deadline for a deal in the nuclear talks between Iran and the major nuclear powers has already been extended once, and the next deadline is just over a month away with no deal yet. Despite the differences, one of the negotiating world powers—Russia—sees some progress in the nuclear dispute.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in comments reported by RIA Novosti, said last week that he has “cautious optimism” about the talks and even said the sides are “very close” to a deal. However, he noted the “most difficult issues” have yet to be resolved.
The new deadline is November 24, which was extended after the sides failed to come to an agreement over the summer.
Russia has a complex relationship with Iran, but one that is far closer than what most of the rest of the major world powers have with Iran. The Russians, while backing some sanctions on Iran, have also backed Iran at the United Nations in the past.
In addition, Russia has also helped Iran build their first nuclear power plant in their country. Safeguards are supposed to be in place to prevent Iran from using the power plant as an alternate route to nuclear weapons.
So while Russia is expressing some optimism about a nuclear deal, Israel is concerned the world powers may concede too much just to get to an agreement. Israel has long warned that Iran—which is suspected of having done work on nuclear weapons—is getting closer and closer to the world’s most dangerous weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments with US President Barack Obama and released by his office on Wednesday, said that preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power is “even more critical” than the threat posed by ISIS.
“As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power, and I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen,” said Netanyahu.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 1, 2014)