The Usual Signs of Progress on Nuke Deal

drudge-iran

Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

Mideast-Iran-Nuclear_Horo-e1392695047501-635x357

“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region.

Khamenei’s comments contrasted with those of Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who said “achieving a deal is possible” by the March 31 target date for a preliminary accord.

Kerry was more circumspect, as he spoke to reporters after six days of negotiations in the Swiss city of Lausanne. The talks, made “substantial progress,” he said, but “important gaps remain.

Buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative

Buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative

“We have an opportunity to get this right,” Kerry said, as he urged Iran to make “fundamental decisions” that prove to the world it has no interest in atomic weapons.

But Khamenei warned against expectations that even a done deal would mend the more than three-decade freeze between the two nations in place since the Iranian revolution and siege of the American Embassy, proclaiming that Washington and Tehran remained on opposite sides on most issues.

“Negotiations with America are solely on the nuclear issue and nothing else. Everyone has to know that,” Khamenei said.

APTOPIX Mideast Iran U.S.

In a reflection of the delicate state of negotiations, other officials differed on how close the sides were to a deal.

Top Russian negotiator Sergey Ryabkov and Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said in recent days that technical work was nearly done. But French officials insisted the sides were far from any agreement.

Kerry was departing later Saturday to meet with European allies in London, in part to ensure unity, before returning to Washington. Kerry said the U.S. and its five negotiating partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — are “united in our goal, our approach, our resolve and our determination.”

But France, which raised last minute objections to an interim agreement reached with Iran in 2013, could threaten a deal again. It is particularly opposed to providing Iran with quick relief from international sanctions and wants a longer timeframe for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity.

“France wants an agreement, but a robust agreement,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French radio. “That is to say, an accord that really guarantees that Iran can obviously have access to the civil nuclear (program).”

“But to the atomic bomb? No.”

France indicated Saturday that it would push for an agreement with Iran that guarantees Tehran cannot build a nuclear bomb in the future, and that it opposed a phased easing of sanctions before an accord is reached….(read more)

The Times of Israel



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