Iran Daily, March 30: “Very Critical Situation” in Nuclear Talks

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Facing Tuesday’s informal deadline for a general nuclear agreement, Iran’s lead negotiator has declared that talks with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, and France) are “in a very critical situation”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said late Sunday, after the fourth day of discussions in Switzerland, “We are in the last stage of negotiations, we are in a very critical situation…and the mood is changing after each meeting.”

Claims circulated on Sunday afternoon that the two sides had agreed a two- to three-page statement of General Principles, but these dissipated as meetings between the Foreign Ministers of all six countries continued.

Iran and the 5+1 are still divided over research-and-development uranium centrifuges in the Fordoo enrichment plant, the timing of the removal of US-led sanctions, and the duration of an agreement.

Araqchi added another possible stumbling block when he appeared to revive the issue of Iran’s despatch of almost all its enriched uranium to be held in Russia: “The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program and we do not intend sending them abroad….There is no question of sending the stocks abroad.”

Earlier this month, Iran reportedly accepted a draft provision that all of its 20% enriched uranium and most of its 5% uranium would be moved outside the country. However, on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry denied media reports that Iran had reconfirmed the provision.

New York Times reporters and US-based analysts who have challenged Iran’s position in the talks immediately jumped on the apparent change in position, “Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal“.

Araqchi maintained:

There are many items on the table. For many of them we have already found solutions. We are trying to close the list and find solutions on each and every item.

Getting to an accord is doable. Solutions have been found for numerous questions. We are still working on two or three issues.

The formal deadline for resolution is July 1; however, last month the US said that General Principles must be agreed by March 31.

The Foreign Ministers are expected to hold a plenary session on Monday to discuss the outstanding issues.


US Officials Accuse Revolutionary Guards of Training Houthi Fighters in Yemen

US officials have used Reuters to accuse the Revolutionary Guards of training fighters of the Houthi movement, which has taken power in Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

The accusation came on Friday, a day after Saudi warplanes began bombing Yemen to check an advance by Houthi ground forces. Those forces are reportedly near Aden, where President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi had set up an alternative government after he fled Sanaa last month.

US officials said Tehran’s direct involvement with the Houthis was limited but that U.S. intelligence assessments had concluded that Guards personnel were training and equipping Houthi units.

“We see …Iran playing a large role in supporting the Houthis,” the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, said on Thursday as he announced the airstrikes. “There are Iranian advisers advising them and Hezbollah operatives advising them.”

Asked about the accusations on Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest was cautious: “We’ve expressed our previous concerns about the destabilizing impact that Iran is having on this particular situation. We continue to have those concerns.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing is ‘critical’ here. At least not now. The political dynamic is completely familiar to any veteran of the Oslo process, and this process will end in exactly the same manner. Obama and co. are just playing the role of the Israeli Left at the time, a bit too perfectly.

    A. Obama and his faction have convinced themselves that the alternative to an agreement is unthinkable. Therefore, they will concede as much as necessary, ignoring previous red lines, the purpose of the agreement etc. etc.

    B. There’s no political out for Obama admin if the negotiation fails for *any* reason. His ‘legacy’ will be ruined nigh regardless of what happens next. Imagine If this fails due to the Iranians, the question will be why did Obama trust them? If this fails due to the Europeans, how come the US is so weak it can’t force its will upon them? etc. etc. There’s an off chance that negotiations will run the life of this admin – but it’s very very unlikely.

    A and B mean Obama will get an agreement with Iran by July, no matter if there’s a ‘framework’ now or not. Furthermore, as long as Obama or his political heirs are in power, most Iranian violations will be ignored. There’s simply no other viable political choice.

    C. At most eight to ten years from now, there’ll be a big conflict, since this agreement resolves very little.
    It could be when whomever is President will decide he doesn’t like the idea of Iranian nukes, while Iranian leaders decide they do. Or maybe a regional Arab-Iranian thing. Far too many scenarios are left open by this negotiations, since it doesn’t solve any of the main issues, but lets most sides pretend they got what they wanted (without most getting it) while letting Iran get stronger (but not enough to overwhelm all opposition), and leaving other ME countries very worried. Since the diplomatic ways will be discredited by this episode, the only way out will be war.

    D. When the big conflict arrives, some people will say that if Obama were still President, said conflict would not have happened.

    • One proof of Obama not being the brightest bulb in this tree is that he picked the wrong side. Instead of this foolish and bottomless nuclear debate he could have supported iranian people when things had heated up years ago(OR maybe this is exactly he wanted to be??). Instead here we are wondering when the mullahs make it to their ambitions and if we catch it on time. Nobody, in iranian opposition is interested or has time for hegemonic agendas. Any change in the regime not only would have a better chance to make it to democracy and away from where we are, but also would give something to the next 2-3 generation of people something to do(if you are cynical can think from this angle) .

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