Iran and six world powers will begin their latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna on Tuesday when they start drafting the text of a comprehensive and potentially historic deal.
In a nutshell, such an accord would reduce the scale of the Islamic republic’s atomic program so as to render any dash to make nuclear weapons extremely difficult and easily detectable.
In return, all UN Security Council sanctions and additional, unilateral Western restrictions targeting Iran’s lifeblood oil exports would be lifted.
Here is a rundown of the main issues that have to be resolved before the deadline for a deal on July 20, when a six-month interim agreement reached in November 2013 expires.
Iran’s research into newer centrifuges up to 15 times faster will also have to be addressed, experts say, as will Iran’s enriched uranium stockpiles, enough for several bombs if purified further.
In April, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the issue was “virtually resolved” after Tehran made proposals to change the design of the reactor.
Possible military dimensions
The powers also want Iran to answer the IAEA’s long-standing questions about evidence suggesting that before 2003, and possibly since, Tehran looked into developing nuclear weapons.
Iran has rejected such claims, saying they are based on faulty intelligence from the CIA and Israel’s Mossad — intelligence that it has not been allowed to see.