Obama says odds at 50-50 over US-Iran nuclear deal

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By Atif Jaleel, India Tomorrow,

New Delhi, 10 Dec 2013: US President Barack Obama said at a forum at the Brookings Institution on 07 Dec that the US-Iran nuclear deal has a 50-50 chance, or worse of being successful. But President Obama still said that diplomacy was the best way to solve Iran’s nuclear issue with an outcome beneficent to both the US and Israel.

Talks between US and Iran have resumed after the election of the new Iran President Hassan Rouhani. He allayed fears of the US that Iran would not manufacture nuclear weapons and would only use its power programme.

Israel has stated on various occasions that it is against Iran’s nuclear power programme. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing his Cabinet called the US-Iran deal as a ‘historic mistake,’ adding that the country had a right to defend itself from Iran.

President Obama has been trying to defend the US-Iran nuclear deal to Israeli sceptics. In an attempt to convince a pro-Israeli audience at The Brookings Institution forum in the US, hosted by Haim Saban, an Israeli businessman, he said: “We have to be vigilant about maintaining our security postures, not be naive about the dangers that an Iranian regime poses, fight them wherever they’re engaging in terrorism or actions that are hostile to us or our allies,” Obama said. “But we have to not constantly assume that it’s not possible for Iran, like any country, to change over time. It may not be likely. If you asked me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state that I was just describing earlier, I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50-50. But we have to try.”

Iran has agreed to comply with US demands in an attempt to find relief from the many economic sanctions levelled on the country. President Rouhani was reported to have said that last month’s nuclear deal has already boosted the economy. In his televised speech he said, “Economic activities have been shifted to the stock exchange from gold, hard currency and real estate” assuring the deal was attracting foreign investors and having a positive effect on the economy.

Iran has certainly become more open to inspections. UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has sent two of its nuclear inspectors for the first time in two years. They arrived on Sunday to the still unfinished Arak heavy water plant, 240 kms southwest of the capital. The Arak plant is of particular concern to the international community since it is considered that the plant could theoretically extract weapons-grade plutonium from the spent fuel.

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