WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)– Iran's negotiations continued with six global powers regarding its nuclear program continued in Vienna, marking the fifth round of talks hoping to reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20. Alongside the nuclear talks, U.S. and Iranian diplomats discussed the crisis in Iraq.
Late Monday, the Iraq issue came up "briefly," separate from the nuclear talks, the most direct talks yet between the U.S. and Iran over Iraq, a senior U.S. Official told The Wall Street Journal. U.S. and Iranian officials are concerned about the rapid advancement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) as they spoke Monday night.
However, nuclear talks are "its own process" the official told The Wall Street Journal.
Huge differences remain, and diplomats suggest the July 20 target date will not be met.
The U.S. wants Iran to re-engineer its plants at Fordo and Arak so it can only be used for peaceful purposes; however Iran is resisting any changes to their nuclear program saying it's only for civilian purposes.
The West also wants Iran to reduce its centrifuges to no more than a few hundred, however Iran wants to keep all of its nearly 20,000 enrichment centrifuges, and ultimately wants to expand their enrichment program to 150,000 centrifuges or its equivalent output with more advanced models.
The U.S. seeks tight limits on how much enriched uranium Iran can stockpile.
Last week, Iranian officials suggested a six-month extension.
"We hope to reach a final agreement (by July 20) but, if this doesn't happen, then we have no choice, but to extend the Geneva deal for six more months while we continue negotiations," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Iran's state news agency IRNA last week.
Experts warn, if no agreement is reached, Iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon can take place in a matter of months.
Recently, Iran submitted documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the first time, claiming its testing of a nuclear detonator was meant only for civilian purposes. While Iran denies any interest in nuclear weapons, IAEA officials have other documentation indicating those experiments were linked to setting off a nuclear charge.
Israeli officials are skeptical that a deal will be reached, and if necessary are willing to take military action against the Islamic republic.
Last week Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff, said "I am convinced that Iran must be stopped before it achieves nuclear power, which, in turn, will spark an arms race. With the help of the international community, we can make it so that Iran will never get there, be it by use of force or without the use of force. Iran must not achieve nuclear power."