Iran’s foreign minister told reporters today that, after an extension of the framework deadline and marathon hours at the negotiating table, “the opposite party’s political will has always been in trouble.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported that Zarif complained negotiations have grown “very difficult.”
Iranian officials told Press TV yesterday that they’d essentially gotten what they want on sanctions save for a few sticking points. Over the past few weeks, various officials in Iran — including the senior nuclear negotiator, a supermajority of parliament, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — have said there will be no concessions from Tehran on sanctions and demanded all sanctions on the Islamic Republic be lifted before Iran signs a deal.
But Fars quoted an anonymous official saying this morning that “despite their earlier indications that they are ready to remove the sanctions, the US and France have once again shifted course.”
“The Iranian team has taken several goodwill measures to work out a deal, but the United States and France insist on keeping the pressures in place despite the Geneva interim deal which envisaged a removal of the sanctions under a final agreement between Iran and the world powers,” the source said, according to Fars.
Iran’s deputy lead negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi told Iran’s Channel One that “progress has been made with regard to the removal of the sanctions, but it is not complete yet.”
He also added that a framework deal would be presented as nothing more than a “press release on the progresses made in the negotiations.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that “progress is being made” at the Switzerland talks, but insisted the U.S. is ready to “walk away” if need be as “these conversations are not open-ended.”
“While the talks have been productive, we have not yet received the specific tangible commitment that the international community seeks,” Earnest said.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius walked away from the negotiating table early this morning. “He will come back as soon as it’s useful,” a spokesman said, according to Reuters.
“The socialist government of France is drawing a harder line than the president is right now,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told Fox last night. “The president needs to stop, take stock of the mistakes that got us to this point and work with Congress to re-impose tougher sanctions so we can once again negotiate from a position of strength, not of weakness.”