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March 20, 2015

Are the U.S. and Iran close to a nuclear deal?


Conflicting reports arose this week on the terms of a nuclear arms deal between the U.S. and Iran as the countries continue negotiations.

The AP reported that a draft document of a nuclear arms agreement would limit the number of nuclear centrifuges in Iran from approximately 10,000 to 6,000 for at least a decade. Initially, the U.S. had aimed to cut the number of centrifuges to between 500 and 1,500. The deal would also lift some of the economic sanctions that have taken a toll on Iran’s economy.

This report was disputed by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said that the basic details of the agreement were still under discussion.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced cautious optimism on the talks. “We are making progress, but there are issues that need to be resolved,” he said.

The U.S. and other nations are currently negotiating a deal with Iran that would limit its ability to produce nuclear weapons. The group wants to increase inspections and limit the number of centrifuges in Iran as well as remove much of its existing uranium, which could be used to create a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. and Iran are aiming to set a framework for the deal by the end of March, with a final agreement to come by the end of June.

Warm up questions
  1. What does the term “foreign policy” refer to?

  2. What do you know about the relationship between the U.S. and Iran?

Critical thinking questions
  1. Why are these negotiations important? How do they affect other nations, beyond the U.S. and Iran?

  2. What are some of the challenges involved in negotiating with Iran on this topic?

  3. What are some possible outcomes of the negotiations? Which do you think is most likely to occur?

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