Russia Backs Iran, Challenges Kerry Over Version of Geneva Nuclear Talks
Defense Minister Denounces US “Anti-Human Discourse”


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There was a notable break in Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s diplomatic, cheerful demeanour on Monday night, as he turned to Twitter to criticize US Secretary of State John Kerry:

The Foreign Minister’s remarks, made on State TV, overshadowed a breakthrough on Monday, as Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to six measures for inspection of nuclear facilities. Among the sites are the Arak heavy-water production plant and nuclear reactor and a uranium mine in southern Iran.

The cause of Zarif’s anger was a series of remarks by Kerry on Sunday and Monday blaming Iran for the failure to reach an interim deal on Saturday in nuclear talks in Geneva.

The objections of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday morning appeared to have derailed an agreement between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, after Foreign Ministers had gathered in an unexpected surge towards a resolution.

Fabius said that the proposed deal did not make adequate arrangements for suspension of Iran’s enrichment of 20% uranium and location of the existing stock. He also insisted on a halt to construction of the Arak reactor, as its plutonium by-product could potentially be used in a militarized nuclear program.

However, speaking on Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates — part of a briefing of Gulf States on the developments — Kerry asserted, “There was unity but Iran couldn’t take it. The French signed off on [the agreement], we signed off on it.”

The Iranian delegation had told media on Saturday that it was ready to sign the deal “on the table”. However, five hours of discussions on Saturday night between Zarif, Kerry, and the European Union’s Catherine Ashton failed to find wording to overcome Fabius’s criticisms.

Russia Backs Iran, Challenges Kerry Over Version of Geneva Nuclear Talks

The Russian Foreign Ministry has supported Tehran’s contention that division within the 5+1 Powers — primarily because of French objections — prevented an interim nuclear deal in Geneva on Saturday:

The draft joint document suited the Iranian side. But since decisions at negotiations are taken by consensus, it was not possible to make a final deal.

And this was not the fault of the Iranians.

The Ministry official rejected the claim of US Secretary of State John Kerry that the 5+1 were unified and that the Iranians balked at signing the deal.

“Such an interpretation simplifies to an extreme and even distorts what happened in Geneva,” the source said.

Defense Minister Denounces US “Anti-Human Discourse”

State media is featuring Monday’s remarks by the Defense Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, claiming that American consideration of a military option against Iran is an “anti-human discourse”.

Dehghan said that the US “has shown enmity towards us and plotted against the Islamic Republic for so long”. He continued:

Of course, the Americans are not capable of launching military strike against Iran, because neither do the global and regional conditions allow them to do so nor do they have such capability.

The Deputy Chief of Staff of the armed forces, Massoud Jazayeri, also put out a warning on Monday:

The Americans’ catch-phrase “the military option is on the table” is a bluff. They are aware of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s capabilities.

The slightest military mistake against Iran will make the Americans witness the heaviest damage in the history in their own eyes.