Following two intense days of nuclear talks with Iran and six world powers in Geneva this week, Washington is reportedly mulling a proposal to ease the pressure of sanctions on Iran.
A senior Obama administration official said Thursday that under the proposal, Tehran would be given access to billlions of dollars of frozen funds in exchange for making concessions on its nuclear program, the New York Times reported.
The plan would give Iran access to the frozen funds in installments, and the official said that it would be less politically and diplomatically risky than repealing sanctions.
The plan is still being discussed in the White House and State Department, according to the report. The official compared the proposal to "opening and closing a financial spigot," the NYT said.
Nuclear talks in Geneva ended Wednesday, with senior U.S. officials describing them as the most meaningful and serious negotiations ever conducted with the Iranian leadership.
Despite the great progress and positive atmosphere, however, there were still fundamental disputes between the sides, particularly with regard to the degree and type of sanctions relief the Iranians would receive in return for their proposal to the West, the Americans said.
By mutual agreement, the six countries and Iran did not release any details about the Iranian proposal. Senior U.S. and European officials noted that the absence of leaks during the talks and the media discipline exercised by both sides was itself evidence of how different and serious this round of talks had been.
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who led the U.S. delegation, was expected to update National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror and possibly other Israeli officials on the substance of the talks and the preparations for the next round of negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is traveling to Rome next week, is expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry there to discuss the Geneva discussions.
Israel responded with cynicism to the latest round of talks. “Iran will be judged by its actions and not its PowerPoint presentations,” senior officials in Jerusalem told Haaretz.
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