Participants in the decade-long talks on Iran’s nuclear program have oscillated between pessimism and hopes of a breakthrough. This has given rise to speculation about a possible resort to the military option in the event of failure or, in the case of success, a return to negotiations between the US and Iran on bilateral issues. Generally, Iran has been accused of not taking the negotiations with the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – seriously and of using the talks to advance its program to develop nuclear weapons. Diplomatic meetings between the P5+1 and Iran usually produce hopes of a possible breakthrough. This was the case in the recent talks in the Kazakh capital Almaty, and there is optimism for the negotiations to follow during the next two months in Istanbul and again in Almaty.

Due to the high stakes involved, the negotiations are difficult. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly stated that his country will press on with its nuclear program, which he insists is for peaceful purposes and compliant with its commitment to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules. US President Barrack Obama, on the other hand, has pledged to bring the program to an end, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pressured Washington to abandon sanctions and act more forcefully towards Tehran. (CONTINUED - 824 WORDS)