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August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘p5+1’

Foreign Ministers Leave US, Iranian Negotiators Alone in Vienna

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The going has finally gotten tough enough to force the tough to get going – and they’re gone.

All of the foreign ministers from the P5+1 group of world powers left U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna late Tuesday to get whatever he can on a deal with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with journalists in the Austrian capital to say the two sides are too far apart for a deal.

Nearly 10 issues still separate the delegation of six nations (Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) led by the United States and Tehran.

Iran continues to insist on full, immediate sanctions relief but refuses to allow spot inspections and access for United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to its military nuclear sites.

The new deadline for conclusion of the talks – which is also “flexible” – is set for this Friday, July 10.

The team of American delegates left to negotiate in Vienna, meanwhile, told a small group of international reporters Tuesday they were “insulted” by implications the U.S. is “eager” for an agreement at any cost. The delegates have traveled to Austria 18 times over the past two years to negotiate this deal, they said.

“Quite frankly, when people say that we’re rushing to an agreement, I find it somewhat insulting,” said a senior U.S. official, “to me, to the team and to the secretary and to the president…. we have seen more of each other than our actual families.”

The official who spoke with reporters warned that once the team leaves Vienna this time, however, “we are in less control of what happens in this negotiation. It gets more complicated, not less complicated.”

If an agreement is initialed by July 10, Congress will have 30 days to review it.

But if it takes longer, then lawmakers will have 60 days to comb through the fine points and decide whether to give a green light or not.

Western Officials Promoting ‘Breakthrough’ in Talks with Iran

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Western diplomats Saturday “leaked” to media that a “breakthrough” has taken place in talks with Iran over a deal to supervise and limit its nuclear program, but an agreement clearly is not in hand.

Iran denied that a partial agreement had been reached.

The presumed progress centered on future sanctions, but there were no indications that negotiators had hurdled the issues of development of advanced centrifuges and of lifting United Nations sanctions.

There also is no agreement on a mechanism or re-imposing sanctions if Iran does not live up to its end of the deal. The issue of having to renew sanctions could be one of the most controversial when Congress reviews a deal, if one is concluded.  The temporary agreement reached earlier this year would make renewal of sanctions a long and drawn-out process  that would take so long that it Iran might be able to produce a numeral weapon in the meantime.

Iran’s government-controlled Fars News Agency reported Saturday:

A source close to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers underway in Vienna, Austria, rejected reports about partial agreement between Iran and the sextet, stressing that any final agreement with the world powers should include detailed solutions and mechanisms for resolving all issues.

Given the principle that ‘nothing will be agreed upon as long as there is agreement on everything’, the questions asking if there has been a specific agreement on a certain topic is basically wrong,’ the source who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the talks told FNA on Saturday.

The new deadline for concluding a deal is July 7, three days away, which means that nothing conclusive and reliable can be believed until a few hours before the deadline, if it not extended again.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry celebrated  the Fourth of July Saturday, as the Jewish Press.com reported here might happen, by meeting twice with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday.

Iran Standing Firm on Demands at Nuclear Talks

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

As talks wrapped up for the weekend, Iran had not budged from its refusal to allow “extraordinary” inspections at nuclear sites — in other words, its refusal to allow spot inspections of its military nuclear sites. And if sanctions are re-imposed in response to violations of the agreement – as the deal states now – Iran says it will escalate its enrichment of uranium, the nuclear fuel used to create atomic weaponry.

“We should be realistic,” said the Iranian official who spoke with journalists in Vienna on Thursday on condition of anonymity. He said the standard rules of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that govern access to government information, sites of interest and scientists should suffice in determining whether Iran is using nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

What Iran did commit to as part of the deal was the IAEA “additional protocol” for inspections and monitoring. That protocol allows the agency access “sensitive” information held by more than 120 governments that accept its provisions, and expanded access to declared and undeclared nuclear sites.

What it does not provide, however, is guaranteed free access for spot inspections by monitors at any and all sites they wish. In addition, there are no specific guidelines with regard to military sites. Moreover, the Iranian parliament specifically passed a law two weeks ago prohibiting access to military sites by outsiders – including the nuclear site where weapons research is being carried out at the Parchin base near Tehran.

On Thursday (July 2) IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano issued a statement following his visit to Tehran, saying, “I believe that both sides have a better understanding on some ways forward, though more work will be needed.” According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the sensitive issue of access by IAEA inspectors to military sites was among the issues covered during Amano’s visit.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond summed it up in a comment on the Twitter social networking site at week’s end that the delegation was “Not at breakthrough moment yet.”

The current deadline for reaching a resolution by the two sides is July 7 – but that doesn’t mean they won’t extend it again. Both sides agreed to extend the most recent deadline – June 30 – despite having said previously that it was a “final, absolutely final” date.

What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The Central Bank of Iran took deliver of 13 tons of Iran’s gold reserves from South Africa, worth close to $12 billion, Iranian Bank Governor Volilollah Seif announced on Wednesday, according to IRNA.

Seif said that Iran’s delegation to Vienna had taken up the issue of the gold reserves last week, in the course of the nuclear talks. Once again, Iran got everything it asked for.

Seif explained that the shipments of Iranian gold reserves, purchased from South Africa two years ago, had been blocked due to the sanctions.

The Central Bank governor confirmed that three shipments had been returned to the central bank since the start of the week, and on Tuesday night “the last parcel of that gold reserve, weighing four tons, arrived in Iran and was delivered to the safe of the CBI.”

Around $100 billion of Iranian assets have been frozen by the various sanctions, though sanctions were supposed to still be suspended until a deal was reached on Iran’s nuclear program as well as its support for terrorist organizations and developing ballistic missiles.

Iran already received $4.2 billion in thawed assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the US, followed by another $2.8 billion that the Obama administration freed last year to keep Iran at the negotiating table.

Iran has already been able to free up some 20% of its frozen assets, around $19 billion. At best, that’s without doing anything, and at worse, that’s while continuing to rush towards a nuclear bomb.

So much for sanctions.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Nixing Terms for Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Iranian nuclear scientists are expected to maintain their pace and make good progress in the field – with or without sanctions or a deal for relief – according to a report on state TV.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it clear Tuesday that he has ruled out any freeze on sensitive nuclear work, state television reported.

The deal being offered by the six world powers (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China) offers relief from sanctions imposed on Tehran, linked to verifications by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has halted its sensitive nuclear development program. The deal is to extend over a 10 year period.

In return, the UN is to lift the economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, using a step-down system linked to IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear plants and research facilities.

But Iran’s Supreme Leader has nixed all that, and demands that sanctions be removed immediately as well.

“Freezing Iran’s research and development for a long time, like 10 or 12 years, is not acceptable,” Khamenei responded in a speech that was broadcast live over Iran state television.

“Sanctions should be lifted immediately when the deal is signed and it should not be linked to verification by the UN watchdog body.

“Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines.

“America is hoping to destroy our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators’ aim is to safeguard Iran’s integrity … and our nuclear achievements during the talks.”

It is Khamenei who has the authority to make the final decision on anything dealing with nuclear technology in Iran; thus as it stands now, it is likely that unless he suddenly changes his mind – or the delegation is willing to accept his terms — the deal is likely to be scrapped.

Or talks will again be extended, as they have been twice before.

Negotiations so far are scheduled to end – “one way or the other” – on June 30.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pressuring the world powers to walk away from “this bad deal” and warning Iran would not keep its end of the bargain. It has already been discovered that Iran was increasing its uranium enrichment production during the nuclear agreement talks, even though it had already committed to halting such production as a good faith measure during negotiations.

Israel maintains that Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill its side of any future deal, either.

Khamenei’s Cancer May Kill Iran Deal

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Ayatollah Khamenei may end up saving President Barack Obama and Israel from a “bad deal” because of a reported terminal cancer and scramble for power by hard-liners anxious to replace him.

TheJewishPress.com reported here in March that Iran may have faked events to show that Khamenei had not died. Reports of his death were premature, but it increasingly clear that the leader of the Islamic State has terminal cancer.

Iran’s regime-controlled news agencies recently have carried fewer articles highlighting Khamenei’s speeches, and the London Telegraph reported this week he has undergone several operations for prostate cancer,

Several reports, which Iran will probably never confirm, say that he has only a few months to live, which would explain why senior Iranian hard-liners are busy campaigning against a deal with the United States and the other P5+1 powers over its nuclear program.

Preaching compromise is dangerous to one’s health in Iran.

Hassan Rowhani controls Iranian policies by virtue of being president but is subservient to the Ayatollah, whose replacement may have already have been engineered with the jockeying by Sadeq Larijani, whose brother Ali is Iran’s senior negotiator with the Western powers.

If Khamenei dies, the Islamic Assembly of Experts, so they call themselves, will chose his replacement.

Lo and Behold, a hard-line ally of Khamenei named Mohammed Yazdi was named to the Assembly in March, giving Larijani more solid support since he is protégé of Khamenei.

Sadeq Larijani heads Iran’s judiciary and has begun an investigation of those who are alleging that Khamenei is corrupt.

And who is behind the allegations? None other than a contender to replace Khamenei, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, an ally of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjan. Remember him? He is a moderate, keeping in mind that everything is relative.

With Larijani set to take over, and a deal supposed to be signed in two weeks, statements from Iranian officials that the “deadline” may be extended are sounding more reasonable and not just rhetoric.

If Larijani wants to prove to the Assembly that he can be trusted to not let President Barack Obama get away with a deal that could actually force Iran into a situation that would endanger Iran’s nuclear weapons program, June 30 is going to be marked as nothing more than the end of the month, and the same night be said for July 31.

Larijani might want to bury the deal along with Khamenei.

 

Zarif: Iran Will Allow Inspections but Only When it Wants

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Monday that Iran never will allow unrestrained access to the countries’ infrastructures.

The April 2 tentative agreement reached between Iran and P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear development is to be followed by an “Additional Protocol” once a final agreement is signed by the June 30 deadline imposed by President Barack Obama.

Zarif stated:

The Additional Protocol never allows excessive and unreasonable access to the countries’ infrastructures; rather it provides a regulated framework which is today being implemented in about 124 countries.

He added that implementation of the Additional Protocol is “voluntary” and that “the existent regulations prevents a misuse of accesses” by the IAEA to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

His statements turn the whole objective of the agreement on its head. Instead of the United States and the other P5+1 countries inspecting Iran’s nuclear plants to make sure it is not guilty of “misuse” of nuclear technology and enriched uranium, it is the Islamic Republic that is to make sure the IAEA does not “misuse” its access.

Zarif also said there will no such things as “inspections.” Instead, they are “access based on a clear and managed framework.”

But what about insistence by President Barack Obama and other Western leaders that there will be no restrictions on access?

All of that is just rhetoric to “pacify” pressure groups, according to Zarif.

He was quoted by The Tehran Times as saying, “Excessive demands [by the P5+1] would only prolong talks and would bring no result for the side that seeks excessive demands.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/zarif-iran-will-allow-inspections-but-only-when-it-wants/2015/05/19/

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