Iran Nuclear Talks: Raising the Bar
by Stephen Lendman
On April 1, P5+1 countries and Iran agreed "in principle on all key aspects of a deal."
An article discussing the announcement said hold the cheers. It's a long way from preliminary to final agreement - especially with Washington involved, serving its own and Israeli interests.
It's longer still believing America will honor what it agrees to. Its sordid history suggests otherwise - breaching and/or reinterpreting one agreement and convention after another to suit its political agenda.
Washington's only rules are its own - made up based on geopolitical considerations and enforced belligerently.
P5+1 nations and Iran agreed on a June 30 deadline to consummate final deal terms.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Geneva for continued talks - including with John Kerry.
Important disagreements remain. On Wednesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said talks might extend beyond end of June.
"All issues are on the table in this round of talks, and we will work on them concurrently," he explained.
Washington raised the bar. It wants access to Iran's military sites. Days earlier, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said:
"If we don’t get the assurances we need on the access to possible military dimension-related sites or activities, that’s going to be a problem for us."
"We and Iran have agreed that we will undertake a process to address possible military dimensions (of past nuclear work), and part of that includes access."
"Under the Additional Protocol... which Iran will implement and has said they will implement as part of this deal, the IAEA does get access."
"If we cannot agree in the final instance to something that meets our bottom line for what we need in terms of access, we’re not going to sign a final deal. And that’s just something we’ve been very, very clear about."
Her remarks followed Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei saying Iran won't allow military site inspections. Preliminary agreement terms make no such demand.
Following new US ones, Ayatollah Khamenei said "(t)hey are making new comments in the negotiations."
"Regarding the inspections, we have said that we will not allow foreigners to carry out inspections of any military sites."
"The enemies should know that the Iranian nation and officials will, by no means, give in to excessive demands and bullying."
In early May, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said "Iran will brook no excessive demands."
"The agreed parameters are those confirmed by the two sides in Lausanne and these parameters need to be stipulated in a written agreement by Iran and the P5+1."
On Saturday, Deputy Foreign Minister Araqchi said "(i)nterviews with scientists and inspections of military centers are fully rejected, but talks continue within the framework of the procedures envisaged in the Additional Protocol."
It allows some access to military sites but not unrestricted inspections or interviews with Iranian scientists.
Araqchi explained discussions are continuing on how the Additional Protocol should be implemented. It permits snap nuclear site inspections - restricted access only to military ones when justified.
On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "France will not accept a deal if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites."
Was he speaking for his government, Washington and/or Israel?
"Yes to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France," he said.
In Geneva, Zarif said "(w)e will discuss the latest conditions of the negotiations, and we will decide how to proceed."
Last Month, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) head Ali Akbar Salehi said nothing in the Additional Protocol mandates non-nuclear inspections - only their "vicinities."
Everyone has their own interpretations, he added. Iran so far agreed to much more than it's gotten in return.
If Washington keeps raising the bar irresponsibly, perhaps no deal is possible. Iran justifiably won't relinquish its legitimate rights - nor should it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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