Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed a crucial detail Thursday about last week’s nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva that explains much more clearly than previous reports why the meeting broke up without agreement.
Lavrov said the United States circulated a draft that had been amended in response to French demands to other members of the six-power P5+1 for approval “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
There was an American-proposed draft, which eventually received Iran’s consent.” Lavrov thus confirmed the fact that the United States and Iran had reached informal agreement on a negotiating text.
Then Lavrov revealed for the first time that the U.S. delegation had made changes in the negotiating text that had already been worked out with Iran at the insistence of France without having consulted Russia.
“But amendments to [the negotiating draft] suddenly surfaced,” Lavrov said. “We did not see them. And the amended version was circulated literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
The crucial details provided by Lavrov on the timing of the amended draft shed new light on Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim in a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday of unity among the six powers on the that draft.
Kerry gave no indication of when on Saturday that proposal had been approved by the other five powers, nor did he acknowledge explicitly that it was a draft that departed from the earlier draft agreed upon with Iran. Lavrov’s remarks make it clear that the other members of the group had little or no time to study or discuss the changes before deciding whether to go along with it.If Lavrov is being candid, this is reminiscent of the 2010 Tehran Agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil, which had been approved by the Obama administration beforehand on the assumption the Iranians would reject the terms. When the Iranians approved it, the U.S. rejected the initiative and terms it green-lighted, and rushed forward with more sanctions against Iran.
Additionally, this is not the first time a more moderate administration in Iran has been left to hang out and dry following rapprochement efforts towards the United States. Previously, the Khatami administration undertook largely successful efforts assisting the United States leading up to and during the initial stages of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Bush Administration pocketed that goodwill, only to turn around and brand Iran as a member of an "Axis of Evil," greatly undermining the liberal administration of President Khatami.
It is this sort of historical background that forms the basis for the SL branch of IRIG's skepticism towards the current round of nuclear negotiations.