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What Happened in Geneva? What Does It Mean?

November 10th, 2013 - 7:54 pm

It’s not easy to make a deal with Iran (and even when you think you’ve made one, you might be wrong).  The failure of the Geneva talks is just another in a long series of such failures.  Even the public events are part of the well-established pattern:  the secretary of state jumps on a plane and flies to meet with the Iranians.  But when he gets there, he finds it’s not quite a done deal.  And in the wee hours of the morning two days later, there’s no deal at all.

Remember that something very similar happened in September 2006, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice jumped on a plane in Washington and flew to New York, expecting to sign a deal at the United Nations with Iran’s Ali Larijani.  The deal had been negotiated in secret over several months, and both sides had agreed to the final language.  But Larijani never showed up.  This time the deal had again been negotiated in secret over several months, and, unlike 2006, the Iranians actually showed up, smiling broadly and brandishing their signing pens.  But it turned out that there was no deal.  What went wrong?

The headlines suggested that the French were to blame, that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius rejected some of the conditions, and his demands were unacceptable, at a minimum to the Iranians and perhaps to some of the Western countries as well.  The French insist that this latter claim is false.  They say that Kerry and Fabius met head-to-head on Saturday evening around six o’clock, and agreed on the Western final proposal.  They go on to say that, on the basis of the Franco-American agreement, Catherine Ashton of the EU wrote a 3-page text that all members of the Western group agreed to and that was given to the Iranians.  After some delay, the Iranians said that the text would have to be approved by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and they were unable to sign anything on the spot in Geneva.

No doubt we’re going to get more detail in the next few days, but if the French account–which was given to the Socialist magazine Le Nouvel Observateur–is anywhere near correct, then there’s an obvious series of questions:

–First, when the Obama administration whispered to the press that the deal was done, and that Kerry was showing up for the signing party in Geneva, what, if any, were the differences between that deal and the one the Iranians couldn’t sign then and there?

–Second, was the Obama administration totally unaware of the French position?  How could Fabius’s proposal have come as a surprise?  It’s not as if we are isolated from French diplomats, after all;

–Third, were the Iranians unaware of the French position?  Or did they think that the Obama administration was going to force an agreement that did not satisfy Paris?

Here and there, I’ve read claims that the Americans backtracked during the negotiations in Geneva.  If true, it would help explain the snafu.  And if the French account is correct, it would mean that the United States backtracked twice, first to the Iranian demands, and then to French conditions.  When the Iranians saw that their own proposed deal was not accepted, they had to say that Khamenei would have to decide the matter.

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Top Rated Comments   
No wonder the Iranians don't want to negotiate, Obama stupidly secretly lifted sanctions on them months ago. Why bother to negotiate if this fool is giving away the farm without getting anything in return?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kerry was sent on a fool's errand. There was never going to be any 'deal' with the Iranians unless we line up on their border the assets necessary to take out their nuclear facilities. Even then I suspect they would think we'd never do the deed necessary. And rightfully so. Like their arab neighbors the persians understand and respect real threats come from real forces - not from the likes of feckless idiots like Kerry and Obama. They've had dealings with spineless American Presidents before - Carter.

The day that R. Regan took office the Iranians made haste in releasing the hostages taken during Carter's time in office some 400 days prior. It wasn't a goodwill offering on their part to give up those hostages. They knew Regan wasn't going to be the pushover that Carter was. And they were right.

The deed of military action to slow down the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be left to a middle east 'odd couple' - Israel and Saudi Arabia. Seems they now have something in common - an American president more concerned with the future prospects of the muslim brotherhood than the well being of old friends like Israel.

The Saudis will be happy to pay out the fuel bill for the Israelis to do their dirty work - just like we did for them in getting Iraq out of Kuwait and later kicking Hussein from power. With any luck Israel will get them to buy the bunker-busters needed to take out the Iranians nuclear facilities too.

Obama's fecklessness has made for some strange bedfellows.


23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does this mean Kerry gets another Purple Heart?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
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22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
hey, a new version, finally the western powers sided France, it was because of Iran that the discussion failed

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/888ecb0a-4aac-11e3-8c4c-00144feabdc0.html



23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm Marie Claude, dunno by any hazard how this pseudo came on board, since I still register the same way
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zeuropeans aren't happy that France nuked their dream to trade with Iran

http://ecfr.eu/content/entry/commentary_french_resistance_to_a_deal_with_iran_un_petit_probleme222

if there one country that know all about nuclear energy vs nuclear power, it's France, expllain that to anti nuclear appeasers, that is the whole german Europe,
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, Obama "misspoke" again.

There is no point at all in any deal which allows the continued operation of the centrifuges and construction of a heavy water plant. None. This is why the sanctions are there in the first place.

The reason the mullahs returned to the table is that the sanctions are hurting and they perceive the obvious weakness in Obama. He's a punk, a buffoon with a soft spot for islamist extremists - as he showed with all the proud talk of the "Arab Spring" when Muslim Brotherhood thugs took power in Egypt and Tunisia. He had no problem supplying them with advanced weaponry, but once the people demanded the expulsion of Morsi for subverting their democracy, aid must now be reviewed.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Western world wants an agreement to resolve differences over Iran’s nuclear program. In fact, to doing any deal, it will requires to acknowledge the politics on both sides which means that both sides will need to give up some things. The Iranian hardliners always want more value gains, they want sanctions removed, and above all they want investing some time in order to accomplish what they are doing underground (the dirty bombs) while the American gentlemen in Washington, as usual, would be "the surrendered and humiliated side", of course will giving more of concessions rather than being tough on Iran!
Dear gentlemen, Iran poses a very serious threat to international security, specifically to Israel and the USA. Iran is the most active State sponsor of terrorism around the world. Today it is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in Syria and the region especially since they have the ties with Sunni terrorist groups. So any negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program it's just a "waste of time." NO deal will prevent the Mullahs from pursuing enriching their uranium and supporting of terrorism, this is an important part of their wicked nature!!!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Obama administration is in a win-win situation. They can go through a foreign affairs failure like this without worrying about bad press. If the deal did go through, they'd then be given credit for making deal, without of course, covering any of the specifics. For once, you have to be grateful to the French for standing up against such a obviously bad deal. It is amazing to me that any American would actually trust either John Kerry or Obama based upon their backgrounds.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am going to say a prayer for Lurch and Lumumba that they somehow cut a good deal Or perhaps no deal. The mullahs got to where they are by killing people. This stands in stark contrast to the organizer Obama who rose to power by calling white people racist. I hope he says a little prayer asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. But, I doubt it.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
No wonder the Iranians don't want to negotiate, Obama stupidly secretly lifted sanctions on them months ago. Why bother to negotiate if this fool is giving away the farm without getting anything in return?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The yield, is bringing America to her knees!?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kerry was sent on a fool's errand. There was never going to be any 'deal' with the Iranians unless we line up on their border the assets necessary to take out their nuclear facilities. Even then I suspect they would think we'd never do the deed necessary. And rightfully so. Like their arab neighbors the persians understand and respect real threats come from real forces - not from the likes of feckless idiots like Kerry and Obama. They've had dealings with spineless American Presidents before - Carter.

The day that R. Regan took office the Iranians made haste in releasing the hostages taken during Carter's time in office some 400 days prior. It wasn't a goodwill offering on their part to give up those hostages. They knew Regan wasn't going to be the pushover that Carter was. And they were right.

The deed of military action to slow down the Iranian nuclear weapons program will be left to a middle east 'odd couple' - Israel and Saudi Arabia. Seems they now have something in common - an American president more concerned with the future prospects of the muslim brotherhood than the well being of old friends like Israel.

The Saudis will be happy to pay out the fuel bill for the Israelis to do their dirty work - just like we did for them in getting Iraq out of Kuwait and later kicking Hussein from power. With any luck Israel will get them to buy the bunker-busters needed to take out the Iranians nuclear facilities too.

Obama's fecklessness has made for some strange bedfellows.


23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The keystone cops antics of this administration would be laughable if it were not so serious. We are talking about Iran, a state that promotes terrorism world wide, obtaining nuclear weapons. Weapons that could be detonated in Israel, Europe, or the US. It appears that the world's diplomats have forgotten Neville Chamberland's peace in our time moment. Only this time the consequences will involve nuclear not conventional weapons. The west apparently feels it is ok to put the lives of millions of their citizens in jeopardy. This is not leadership, this is insanity.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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