Iran nuclear talks that have been going on over the past six months got a four-month extension Saturday as Iran and the five world nuclear powers attempt to find some middle ground.
Here's the gist of the problem: Iran wants to produce nuclear fuel to power reactors. But the U.S, U.K, France, Russia and China don't want Iran to produce fuel for a bomb. (Via Press TV)
So on January 20, the countries all undertook the Joint Plan of Action, freezing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for $7 billion in sanctions relief over the next six months.
While six months might seem like enough time to make a plan dealing with all the nuclear nuances, they've proven especially difficult due to one thing: Iran's centrifuges.
By connecting thousands of centrifuges, a plant enriches natural uranium in its gas form to the three to five percent needed to power a reactor or, the higher amounts needed for weapons-grade uranium. (Via YouTube / engineerguy)
Iran wants to continue using the centrifuges it has for seven years while converting its already-enriched gas uranium into a solid form, making it harder to enrich any further. (Via European External Action Services)
The West, however, wants Iran to scrap about half of those centrifuges and stay at that amount for 20 years instead. (Via Deutsche Welle)
According to The Guardian, Iran's foreign minister argues that dismantling that many centrifuges and cutting that many nuclear industry jobs would be seen as a "stinging humiliation in Iranian eyes."
So negotiations have been stalled until November. The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran has agreed to some provisions so that the U.S. will lift $2.8 billion frozen from American sanctions in the meantime.
The provisions include converting its highly enriched uranium into solid fuel, diluting it's low-enriched uranium into its natural state, and allowing additional monitoring of its research.
But even with the steps taken so far, some are still skeptical on how these talks should proceed or what they'll result in.
An opinion piece on The Washington Post by a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations argues that if the U.S. both isolates Iran by taking an active role in the Middle East, and weakens it with sanctions, then Iran may be more constructive in negotiations.
And an Al Jazeera piece suggests that if the talks are unsuccessful, Russia, China and black marketers will all stand to benefit while the region will become more destabilized.
Members of Congress remain another challenge to the talks, as both sides of the aisle have had difficulty being convinced to lessen any sanctions on Iran.