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U.S.-Iran nuclear talks will never overcome decades of suspicion. Can both sides deal with that?
The ceremonial entrance to the Palais Coburg hotel in the heart of Vienna sits atop an elaborate staircase rising from the end of the former palace’s carriage drive, creating what the hotel’s promotional literature calls “the anticipation of a grand event.” But on a balmy day last June, the five American nuclear experts arriving at Palais Coburg needed no added drama. Ahead of them lay a tense confrontation with their Iranian counterparts in a day of high-stakes talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.
In one of the building’s ornate 19th century staterooms, the Americans faced off against the Iranians across a large conference table. Over the next hour, the U.S. team presented excerpts from a series of highly classified Iranian documents …