Iran Nuclear Talks

November 10, 2013 by  

Iran Nuclear Talks, After three days of marathon negotiations – the dramatic and sudden arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, followed by other foreign ministers, and a diplomatic merry-go-round at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva – there was still no deal. A good beginning or an honourable failure?

At the press conference, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looked exhausted by the marathon talks.

Mr Zarif smiled and insisted the talks had been positive.

He didn’t take the bait when asked whether he was upset with the French for apparently throwing a wrench in the works and thanked all the ministers for coming, saying it was normal to have differences.

But the press conference was short and felt somewhat awkward, as though neither one of them wanted to be there.

French objections
Mr Zarif said he was not disappointed there was no deal. There was a lot of progress, according to him, and something to build on during the next round of talks later this month.

Although Mr Kerry had made clear when he arrived on Friday that there was no deal yet in an effort to manage expectations, no-one really expected the talks to hit a snag because of France.

All day reports circulated about divisions within the group of six world powers.

The French foreign minister spoke to reporters ahead of the press conferences
Western diplomats told reporters camped in the hotel lobby that they were furious with the French for inserting their objections at the last minute.

But France’s position has always been tough on Iran – perhaps unnoticed, because the focus is mostly on the US stance.

French diplomats have told me in recent years they believed the Obama administration was willing to concede too much too soon.

After the talks ended around 01:00 local time (00:00 GMT) on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went to the bar.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius pre-empted the Ashton-Zarif press conference by speaking first, just outside the hotel where all the delegations had been meeting.

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