LATEST: British-Iranian Ghavami, Sentenced to 1 Year for Trying to Watch Men’s Volleyball, Released on Bail


Analysis: New York Times Turns to Scare-Mongering About “Covert Weapon” as Deadline Nears for Nuclear Talks
Interview: Obama Defends Nuclear Talks But “Gaps Are Still Significant”

UPDATE 1000 GMT: An unnamed member of Iran’s negotiating team has said that a comprehensive nuclear deal will not be reached by Monday’s deadline.

The source told the Iranian Students News Agency, “Considering the short time left until the deadline and number of issues that needed to be discussed and resolved, it is impossible to reach a final and comprehensive deal by November 24.”

He said issues included “levels of enrichment, number of centrifuges, timeframe of the activities, ways of lifting sanctions,” and the activities of the Fordoo enrichment plant and the under-construction Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor.

The official continued, “The issue of extension of the talks is an option on the table and we will start discussing it if no deal is reached by Sunday night.”

Two days before a deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement, US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken of “serious gaps” between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Germany).

Kerry said, after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, “We’ve been obviously having difficult talks here on a complicated topic. We are working hard. We hope we are making careful progress but we have big gaps, we still have some serious gaps which we are working to close.”

Later on Saturday, Kerry had discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton — the second meeting of the trio in 24 hours.

Zarif, who had been pessimistic on Friday about a resolution, said on Saturday that he believed there would be a deal by the deadline.

On Friday, Iran was given a new proposal by the 5+1 Powers proposing agreement on some issues and further extending the talks to March.

The interim plan of action between Iran and the 5+1, agreed last November, was extended in July but expires on Monday at midnight.

No details have come from the talks about the key matters, such as Iran’s number and level of centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the lifting of US-led sanctions, and the duration of an agreement.

British-Iranian Ghavami, Sentenced to 1 Year for Trying to Watch Men’s Volleyball, Released on Bail

Ghoncheh Ghavami, the British-Iranian woman given a one-year prison sentence for trying to watch a men’s volleyball match, has been released on bail.

Ghavami, a law graduate from the University of London, was detained with a group of women in June when they tried to enter Azadi Indoor Stadium in Tehran to watch the Iran-Italy Volleyball World League match. They were soon released, but Ghavami was arrested when she returned to collect her confiscated possessions.

Ghavami protested with a hunger strike in October when she was denied an open trial over the charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

New York Times Turns to Scare-Mongering About “Covert Weapon” as Deadline Nears for Nuclear Talks

As Monday’s deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal approaches, The New York Times has turned to scary headlines about Tehran’s deception and danger. “In Iran Talks, U.S. Seeks to Prevent a Covert Weapon“.

See Iran Analysis: New York Times Turns to Scare-Mongering About “Covert Weapon” as Deadline Nears for Nuclear Talks

Head of Iran Air: Sanctions Have Grounded Our Airplanes

The head of Iran Air has publicly admitted that sanctions are having an effect on the country’s aviation industry.

Farhad Parvaresh said many planes were grounded because Britain’s Rolls-Royce had not agreed to send replacement parts: “Eight planes out of a fleet of 27 are always on their maintenance and repair half-life; and 10 others suffer grounding due to lack of engine and fuselage parts.”

He continued with hope for a nuclear deal, “Other Iranian airliners face the same problem of plane parts; it is an expensive process; if negotiations come to any definite result, it would benefit first Iranian airliners.”

Head of Military: We Were Close to Nuclear Deal But Zionists & US Republicans Stopped It

In contrast to the hopeful tone of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, the head of Iran’s military, General Hassan Firouzabadi, has said that the chance of agreement was lost in early November.

Firouzabadi asserted on Saturday that Iran and the US were on the verge of a nuclear deal in talks in Oman in early November, but said “Zionist pressures” and the victory of Republicans in American Congressional elections blocked the possibility.

“What the Americans said in [the Omani capital of] Muscat were the Israelis’ words,” the General told reporters. He added:

All the year-long negotiation with all the endeavors and time and money put into these negotiations was troubled with a political event which happened in the US….

I think that the US officials are indebted to the money that Zionists spend to bring them to power and cannot, thus, realize what the Islamic Republic of Iran says.