Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Iran Nuke Talks Head for Overtime

Iran Nuke Talks Head for Overtime

by Stephen Lendman

Negotiators on both sides in Lausanne indicated talks may continue past midnight into April 1.

Senior Iranian negotiator Hamid Baidinejad said "Iran does not want a nuclear deal just for the sake of having a deal, and a final deal should guarantee the Iranian nation's nuclear rights."

"We will continue the talks until we reach an agreement over disputed issues."

Un unnamed US official close to talks said "(w)e will, of course, keep working if we are continuing to make progress, including into tomorrow, if it's useful to do so." 

"At this time, no decisions have been made about our travel schedule."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left talks on Monday - saying he'd return if a deal was immanent. 

He's back saying "(w)e have an opportunity to realize our chances if no party to the negotiations tries to raise the stakes at the last moment to get something extra instead of keeping a balance of interests."

If a preliminary framework deal is reached in any form, Security Council members should end sanctions on Iran straightaway, he said.

"We do not recognize (unilaterally imposed sanctions) in any situation, whether it is Iran or any other country," he explained.

An unnamed Iranian source said "(w)e are working meticulously to produce a document." 

"If all goes well, the signing ceremony may take place in Geneva rather than Lausanne."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: "I think we will stay overnight" into Wednesday.

According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest:

"Our negotiators have determined…that they’re going to continue these conversations tomorrow…if necessary, as long as the conversations continue to be productive."

"It doesn't make sense if we are getting serious engagement from (Iran) to just abruptly end the talks based on (an artificial midnight) deadline, because the fact is if we are making progress towards the finish line then we should keep going."

Kerry spokeswoman Marie Harf indicated talks will continue into Wednesday. Whether another day makes a difference remains to be seen.

After months of talks, key sticking points remain. They include sanctions, nuclear R&D, uranium enrichment, and where enriched stockpiles will be stored.

Earnest suggested both sides are working to produce a text with few specifics - with accompanying technical documents indicating areas where further talks are needed.

Accomplishing this much would allow negotiators to claim a "new phase" of talks will follow - not just a continuation of incomplete current ones.

If talks end inconclusively, congressional hardliners intend pushing for imposing more sanctions - possibly with a veto proof margin.

Doing so would wreck talks. Things would go back to square one. All bets would be off.

Late Tuesday Lausanne time, senior Iranian negotiator Hamid Baeidinejad said agreement was reached on removing sanctions.

Minor issues remain to be resolved, he indicated. "Sanctions have many aspects," he explained.

"There are unilateral sanctions, US sanctions, EU sanctions, UNSC sanctions."

"I should say that many of these aspects have been resolved, but still there are some limited areas that also need to be resolved, and we are now concentrating on those remaining technical aspects with regard to the sanctions."

He expects oil, gas, and banking sanctions to be lifted as soon as a comprehensive deal is implemented, saying:

"The termination of oil sanctions, gas sanctions, financial banking…many of them have been resolved."

"But still there are a limited number of areas that are still under negotiations, which we hope we can resolve them and then we can admit that the whole issue of sanctions is resolved."

"We are now concentrating on some limited aspects of issues related to the overall sanctions, particularly sanctions of the UNSC, and only we are concentrating on those limited aspects now."

Talks will continue as long as it takes for both sides to resolve things enough to claim success (true or false) and move forward for a comprehensive agreement by June 30, he explained.

Whether any agreement, if reached, is meaningful going forward remains to be seen

Decades of anti-Iranian sentiment haven't changed. Washington tolerates no independent governments. 

Expect no fundamental change in US Iranian policy going forward - especially with the power of Israel and its Lobby going all-out to prevent normalization.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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