Published in the Globe and Mail, May 25, 2012.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have wrapped up in Baghdad. There was no agreement, but one wasn’t expected and both sides agreed that talks will continue. The broad outlines of a deal are fairly well known and include: Iran coming completely clean about its nuclear activities; the cessation of enrichment to 20 per cent and the removal from Iran of its stockpile of such material; the safeguarding within Iran of its uranium enriched to lower levels; stringent safeguards on all Iranian nuclear activity; and, in return, the removal of the sanctions on Iran, both those in place and those pending.

Another key question is the timelines. For the Iranians, the desired outcome is a speedy removal of the sanctions in return for as little in the way of concessions on their nuclear program as possible beyond vague promises of future action. For the international community, the desired outcome is speedy and certain action on Iran’s part, followed by the phased removal of the sanctions as Iran’s promises are seen to be kept….

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