Iran and the international community have been having a lot of working lunches lately, and it all has to do with reaching a nuclear deal.
GIMME SOME BACKGROUND.
Iran has been developing a nuclear program for decades. It says it wants to create nuclear energy for peaceful purposes (think: electricity). But the US, EU, UN and others think it wants to build a nuclear weapon. To try and stop that from happening, they've hit Iran with heavy sanctions, including a ban on other countries importing Iranian oil (the country's main export).
WHY DOES NO ONE WANT IRAN TO HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON?
Because what happens in Iran does not stay in Iran. The country funds terror groups that've been in the headlines in recent years (think: Hezbollah, Hamas). Israelis are worried because, not only have these groups pledged Israel's destruction, Iran's leaders have also said Israel should be 'eliminated.' Plus, the West thinks Iran's been going Walter White on them, by literally going underground with parts of its program.
TELL ME ABOUT THESE TALKS.
In late 2013, Iran and a crew of countries -- the US, Germany, UK, France, China, Russia -- agreed to a temporary nuclear deal while both sides worked out a more permanent solution. Those talks got extended. Twice. Now, it's time for the permanent solution, which is good because the deadline was...July 7. Deadlines are hard.
WHAT'S THIS DEAL?
We don't know for sure yet, but little diplomatic birdies have been saying that the framework they're talking about would limit Iran's nuclear capabilities for 10 years, in exchange for the West easing up on sanctions. There are lots of opinions.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
Iran...We really don't know what all the fuss is about. This program is peaceful. Period. So if the West would kindly lift all of these sanctions, we'd like our economy back now.
The White House...Iran's nuclear program needs a bouncer to watch over things. We want a deal that -- if Iran decided to go rogue -- would keep it from producing a nuclear weapon within a year.
The GOP...If you give Iran a nuclear inch, it will make a weapon. We don't trust them, and we think this is a bad deal. So bad that we wrote a friendly note to Iranian leaders reminding them that President Obama is temporary, but Congress is forever. xoxo
Israel...Has everyone lost their minds? No deal. Not now, not ever. Israeli PM Netanyahu feels so strongly that he controversially came to the US to tell Congress that the deal is bad news.
Saudi Arabia...Since Iran is our least favorite neighbor in the area, we have some very skeptical eyebrows raised over this nuclear program.
Russia...We have a deal to build nuclear reactors in Iran, which is our way of making sure Iran's program stays peaceful, while making a few rubles. Plus, the friendship bracelet looks good on us. And makes the US squirm. Muahaha.
If the US and Iran manage to reach a deal, it would be a diplomatic breakthrough that hasn't been seen in decades.