Diplomacy

Negotiators Miss Fifth Deadline After New Iranian Demands, Extend Talks to Friday

In the wake of Tehran’s latest demands to have the United Nations Security Council lift its embargoes on Iran’s arms industry, nuclear negotiators missed their fifth deadline and agreed to extend talks until Friday, Bloomberg Business reported today.

After almost two years, diplomats say they’re closer than ever to sealing an accord that would help Iran lift sanctions and boost trade. In return, the six powers are insisting on terms that would restrict the country’s ability to clandestinely make nuclear weapons. Iran, which holds the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves and fourth-largest oil stockpile, has always insisted its program is peaceful. …

Early on Tuesday, Tehran’s reformist Etemaad newspaper reported agreement on the main body of the accord and four out of five annexes. The sides are still negotiating a fifth one that concerns a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution that would legitimize Iran’s enrichment program and lift UN sanctions. Relief from U.S. and European Union sanctions would be granted separately. …

Diplomats have already missed four of their self-imposed deadlines in November 2013, July 2014, March 2015 and on June 30. Failure to reach an accord by July 9 would extend the necessary Congressional review period to 60 days from 30 days.

The latest missed deadline comes just a day after Iran demanded that the embargoes on the country’s arms and missile exports and imports be lifted in the context of a nuclear deal. Iran has been shipping arms illicitly to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, helping further destabilize those countries, and has been named by the United Nations as a major supplier of arms to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Last week, Western diplomats complained that a number of “red lines” expressed recently by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were preventing progress in the talks.

[Photo: euronews (in Italiano) / YouTube ]