The browser or device you are using is out of date. It has known security flaws and a limited feature set. You will not see all the features of some websites. Please update your browser. A list of the most popular browsers can be found below.
For most of the past decade, particularly since Western financial sanctions began to bite hard two years ago, the dollar has been king around Tehran’s currency bazaar. With government oil revenues plunging and inflation surging, the Iranian national currency, the rial, plunged — to 40,000 to the dollar at its lowest point, from 10,000 to the dollar. For most people, the question was never whether to exchange rials for dollars but how soon.
But these days, the tenor of the bazaar has changed. With the prospect of an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program — and the loosening of the sanctions, which might help revive Iran’s moribund economy — the fortunes of the long-suffering Iranian currency are looking up. Some people have even begun to think it may even make sense now to dump dollars.
The Associated Press has an extensive write-up on the differences that are plaguing this round of nuclear talks.
Talks on a draft deal meant to start a rollback of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief were delayed Thursday, with a senior Iranian envoy suggesting that the momentum characterizing much of a previous round had been slowed.
Negotiators from Iran and six world powers parted on Nov. 10 saying that an agreement was within reach, even after added complications posed by a toughened position from France.
But a negotiating round scheduled for Thursday morning was postponed in a favor of a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton.
That and comments from Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi indicated that the two sides were pausing to take stock.
"What we are trying now is to rebuild confidence that we lost in the previous round of negotiations,"Araghchi told The Associated Press.
Speaking of an unspecified "misunderstanding or ... mismanagement in the previous round," he said "serious negotiations" had not yet started on a draft text meant to outline the contours of any first-step deal.
An interim deal to restrain Iran's nuclear programme aims to make it harder for the Islamic state to build any bomb but may still leave it, at least for now, with enough material for several nuclear warheads if refined to a high degree.
In a sign of how far Iran's nuclear activity has advanced in a few years, the deal under discussion in Geneva this week appears unlikely to achieve a central goal of an abortive one in 2009: reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to below that needed for one nuclear bomb, if processed more.
While details of the text being negotiated in Geneva by senior officials from Iran and six world powers have remained secret, it seems to focus mostly on halting Iran's higher-grade enrichment and neutralising that material.
That is because enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent - compared to the 3.5 percent usually required for nuclear power plants - represents most of the work needed to reach weapons-grade uranium of 90 percent.It seems that P5+1 foreign ministers will be arriving in Lavrov is leading the charge apparently.
The nearly universal expectation was that Kerry’s tenure would be overshadowed by his predecessor’s, for a long list of reasons. For starters, he was arriving in Foggy Bottom when the country seemed to be withdrawing from the world. Exhausted by two long wars, Americans were wary of ambitious new foreign engagements—certainly of military ones, but of entangling diplomatic ones, too. Barack Obama’s administration, accelerating a process that had begun in the early 1960s under President Kennedy, was centralizing foreign-policy decision making in the White House’s National Security Council, marginalizing the State Department. Kerry hadn’t even been Obama’s first choice for the position, getting nominated only when the candidacy of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice was derailed by her tenuous association with the Benghazi-consulate tragedy in 2012. (Rice ended up running the National Security Council.) The appetite for risk taking in the White House is never high, but after the Benghazi imbroglio, it was particularly low. Finally, Kerry, a defeated presidential candidate, was devoid of the sexiness that automatically attaches to a figure, like Hillary Clinton, who remains a legitimate presidential prospect. The consensus in Washington was that Kerry was a boring if not irrelevant man stepping into what was becoming a boring, irrelevant job.
Yet his time at the State Department has been anything but boring—and no one can argue his lack of relevance. Nearly a year into his tenure, Kerry is the driving force behind a flurry of Mideast diplomacy the scope of which has not been seen in years. In the face of widespread skepticism, he has revived the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; brokered a deal with Russia to remove chemical weapons from Syria; embarked on a new round of nuclear talks with Iran, holding the highest-level face-to-face talks with Iranian diplomats in years; and started hammering out a new post-withdrawal security agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Some of these initiatives seemed to begin almost by accident; all of them could still go awry; any of them could blow up in Kerry’s face. His critics say that even if these initiatives don’t collapse, they may do more to boost Kerry’s stature than to increase geopolitical stability. But it’s looking more and more possible that when the history of early-21st-century diplomacy gets written, it will be Kerry who is credited with making the State Department relevant again.