Diplomacy

As Hopes Dim for Deal, Iranian Supreme Leader Bans Concessions on “Nuclear Achievements”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday ruled out concessions on what he described as Iran’s “nuclear achievements,” the latest in a line of repeated and explicit statements from top Iranian officials ruling out moves that Western analysts and the Obama administration consider minimal conditions necessary to verifiably put the Islamic republic’s atomic program beyond use for weaponization.

The Twitter post echoes remarks published on the Supreme Leader’s official website:

Tehran had agreed to talks in order to “break the arrogant powers’ hostile atmosphere toward Iran,” and “talks should continue,” Khamenei said in remarks published on his website Khamenei.ir.

“Despite the continuation of the negotiations, everyone should know that Iran’s activities in nuclear research and development, as well as its nuclear achievements, will never be stopped,” he added.

Top U.S. nuclear experts, including prominent supporters of the Obama administration’s diplomacy to Iran, have calculated that any robust deal with Iran must at a minimum include significant rollbacks of Iran’s existing nuclear infrastructure.

Khamenei is vested with ultimate authority over Iran’s foreign policy and its diplomatic posture regarding nuclear negotiations, and observers have worried since the signing of the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) that expressions of intransigence by the Supreme Leader were aimed at providing pretexts for pocketing Western concessions and eventually abandoning comprehensive talks.

Meanwhile talks between the P5+1 global powers and Iran, directed toward inking a final agreement by July 20, have resumed talks in Vienna. Assessments regarding the probable success of the negotiations varied by outlet and headline. Reuters emphasized a U.S. statement expressing doubts as to whether “gaps” between the parties could be bridged, Agence France-Presse (AFP) headlined its story with “Iran says ‘narrowing some differences’ in nuclear talks,” and Iran’s Fars news outlet was most optimistic with “FM: Iran, World Powers to Start Drafting Final Deal Soon.”

[Photo: AFP news agency / YouTube]