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Dennis Ross: Iran Rejected American Flexibility in Nuclear Negotiations

The Obama administration’s former special adviser on Iran, Dennis Ross, said Tuesday that the United States backed down on key demands in its nuclear negotiations with the regime, according to a report in The Times of Israel.

A day after nuclear talks with Iran were extended until July 2015 after the sides failed to come together following a year of intensive negotiations, Ross said that the US had demonstrated flexibility during the talks, including a willingness to back down on demands over the Arak heavy water facility and the Fordo enrichment facility, but that its positions were received by intransigence by the Iranian counterparts. …

The former diplomat said that Iranian negotiators were either unwilling or incapable of budging from a series of red lines.

Iran, Ross said, would not roll back centrifuge programs for uranium enrichment to the levels that the P5+1 members hoped, and “would not budge on the demands that sanctions be removed immediately” upon the achievement of a comprehensive agreement.

The Times notes that Ross didn’t divulge how he learned details of the negotiations. According to Ross, Iran’s refusal to take advantage of the American flexibility “raises questions in my mind as to whether they are really capable of doing a deal,” particularly due to “the anti-American ideology of the Islamic Republic’s religious leadership,” including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Ross’ assessment starkly contrasts with remarks made yesterday by Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who boasted that his delegation had shown “extreme flexibility and reasonableness” after an extension of talks was agreed to in Vienna. Zarif also mentioned that the extension indicated Iran could reach a final deal while maintaining a “serious” uranium enrichment program with no sanctions.

[Photo: Miami Herald / YouTube ]