The 4th round of nuclear talks commenced this afternoon in Kazakhstan between the Iranians and Western powers.
After a 9 month-long break and a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the parties are going to talk – with admittedly little hope for optimism to resolve the issue.
There have been several rounds of sanctions leveled against Iran which has seen its oil revenues cut and the value of it's currency fall.
These effects, hoped the Western Powers, would effect Iran's economy in such a way to force the Iranian leadership to back down or be perhaps toppled by civil unrest.
Neither looks like it will occur.
The new US Secretary of State John Kerry has said time for a diplomatic solution is running out.
Others have voiced that opinion too as Iran moves closer to enriched uranium capable for weaponry.
Iran announced they have doubled their enrichment capacity which thus cuts the time needed to produce the uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.
Add to that an earlier announcement this month, that they (Iran) had found major new uranium deposits and have also upgraded their enrichment gear – they are feeling pretty good about their negotiation leverage.
For the West, the report by the IAEA published last week justifies their actions.
In the report it reads that the IAEA can not yet “exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program”.
In this round of talks the West is mainly demanding the halt of all enrichment work; the shutting down of the underground facility of Fordow; and the export out of Iran of enriched uranium.
The karat on the stick is substantial sanctions relief.
But Iran leadership feels that if it cuts the nuke program – it will be seen not only loosing face and backing down, but compromising it's own deterrence and security.
The shadow cast over the table for both sides is the clear intention of Israel to take military action against Iran's nuclear program should these talks fail.
Middle East Correspondent