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The nuclear talks with Iran will overrun the July 7 deadline again, EU Foreign Policy chief Frederica Mogherini told media in Vienna.
“We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline,” Mogherini said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that there are eight issues that have to be “finalised” before a nuclear deal between Iran and the six powers is reached. Lavrov also said that the issues linked to the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program have now been solved. Until now, Iran has refused to cooperate fully with the IAEA on this issue and was not willing to grant their inspectors access to military sites where the Islamic Republic conducts activities related to its nuclear program. One of these sites is Parchin, where Iran is suspected of having conducted tests with detonators for an atomic bomb (bridge wires).
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“We have already hinted that everything what concerns mainly a technological task of doing everything necessary to eliminate risks linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, spread of technologies connected with the military dimension of the nuclear industry, all this has been already solved,” Lavrov said.
“Now the talk is about the processes, the procedures of applying these or those steps, if anyone has suspicions in regard to the conscientious fulfillment of commitments by the other side,” he added.
“The idea is how to pack the agreements corresponding to the wording in a way that would be politically beneficial to the respective side,” Lavrov said. “So that the real achievement could be shown, but all this is done in the spirit of good will and mutual respect so that the final product would not look like a victory of someone and a defeat of another,” he added.
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Lavrov’s remark about “how to pack the agreements corresponding to wording in a way that would be politically beneficial to the respective side” is an indication that the Iranians are playing their favorite game of negotiation for the sake of negotiation. They know that the Obama administration will do anything to close a deal and has already backtracked on virtually every demand.
In this respect, it is worth your while to read Foreign Policy’s analysis of Obama’s negotiation track record. The FP article is an update of an earlier article that was published in January 2015.
The administration has always said that the military option was still on the table if negotiations fail. In September 2013, for example, Obama said this:
I’ve said before and I will repeat that we take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran that would destabilize the region and potentially threaten the United States of America.
In December 2013, after signing the interim agreement with Iran, Obama repeated his determination not to take the military option from the table: ”When the President of the United States says he doesn’t take any options off the table, that should be taken seriously.”
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In January of this year, the President again repeated that all options were still on the table: ”Now, if Iran ends up ultimately not being able to say yes (to a deal)….then we’re going to have to explore other options.”
But a month ago, a military operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities was suddenly not an option anymore, the President told the Israeli people in an interview with Channel 2:
A military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates.
Today, Israel Project director Omri Ceren told Western Journalism from Vienna that “the administration is now laying the groundwork for another concession, this time on the IAEA inspection regime.”
President Obama said during his April 2 speech about the Lausanne framework agreement: “Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”
Obama ally Daryl Kimball, talking to Politico a couple days ago, now says: “this particular agreement will establish the most extensive, multi-layered system of nuclear monitoring and verification for any country not defeated in a war.”
Former White House officials have now started to echo this caveat. Yesterday, Jofi Joseph, a former nonproliferation official in the Obama White House, said that the Iranians can’t be expected to submit to anytime/anywhere inspections because they are not defeated in a war (like Iraq under Saddam Hussein).
“What is forgotten is that Iraq was militarily defeated in a humiliating rout and had little choice but to accept (anytime/anywhere inspection),” Joseph said.
Backtracking on key demands in the negotiations is just one of the means the administration uses to reach the desired agreement with the mullahs in Tehran. Some insiders say that the Obama administration is acting as Iran’s lawyer.
Foreign Policy reported that “James Jeffrey, a career diplomat and former ambassador during the Obama administration, said he has been put off by what he considers the highhanded tone and contradictory explanations from the White House.”
“It’s this arrogant, you-just-don’t-know attitude that is taken by the administration,” Jeffrey told Foreign Policy.
“In their zeal to defend what has already been agreed under an April framework accord, U.S. officials have sometimes gone out of their way to defend Iran, insisting Tehran is abiding by its promises,” Jeffrey said.
“David Albright, a physicist who leads the Institute for Science and International Security and who has been tracking Iran’s nuclear program for years, said he has been unfairly labeled an opponent of an accord by the administration. He complained that a ‘war room’ mentality has taken hold inside the White House and warned against taking a black-and-white view of the tentative deal emerging from the talks in Vienna,” Foreign Policy reported.
While a deal has not yet been signed, Iran again succeeded in getting one of the UN sanctions lifted.
The official Iranian News Agency IRNA reported that a shipment of Iranian gold reserves from South Africa that was blocked due to the sanctions has been released after the Iranian Foreign Ministry took the matter to the talks in Vienna. The last parcel of the Iranian gold reserve, weighing four tons, arrived in Tehran and was delivered to the safe of the Central Bank of Iran at the beginning of last week.
Iran has been able to free up roughly 20% of its frozen assets during the negotiations with the six world powers. Some insiders told Western Journalism today that the Iranian accounts at U.S. banks will be next. Swift and CBI will be unlocked, they said.
So, Iran is slowly getting what it wants. Iran expert Michael Ledeen, who has a vast network of contacts in Iran and has followed Iranian politics since the fall of the Shah’s regime in 1979, says that the Iranians will not sign a deal in the end.
“I don’t want to be the sole bearer of bad news for Ben Rhodes and his fellow gurus, but here it is: the Iranians at Vienna won’t sign anything, per their instructions from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“Full credit for this diplomatic accomplishment goes to President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, Guru Rhodes and the rest of the administration strategists.Their constant offer of more–more money, more gold, more limits on annoying inspections, more cooperation in the air and on the ground with Iranian forces, etcetera etcetera–solidified Khamenei’s conviction that there is no reason for him to approve a hated deal with the devil. It’s much better to keep talking until all the sanctions are gone, and Iran’s “right” to pursue its nuclear projects is fully recognized,” Ledeen wrote in his column at Pajamas Media.
Deal or no deal, Iran continues to threaten to annihilate Israel.
Today, IRNA reported that former Iranian President Rafsanjani had said that Israel will be wiped off the map.
“Presence of the forged Israeli regime is temporary as eventually one day this alien existence that has been urged into the body of an ancient nation and a historical region will be wiped off the map”, said Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani on Monday.
Remember, current Iranian President Rouhani’s “moderate” credentials result from his association with Rafsanjani.