Thursday, April 2, 2015

Iran-U.S. Marathon Talks in Lausanne - UPDATES

UPDATE (THU 2 APR): A joint statement by Iran, P5+1 will be issued at a press conference in Lausanne at 7pm local time (1pm EST).

- Kerry and Zarif held marathon talks overnight that lasted 7.5 hours, from 10:30pm on Wednesday to 6am on Thursday local time.

- Zarif tells reporters after the record meeting. "We don't know yet. They (P5+1) are talking among themselves, we have to wait and see."

- At 10:50am, P5+1 began their meeting. Kerry and EU-3 FMs in attendance. Russia and China are represented by their political directors.

- Historians tell Bloomberg John Kerry's marathon talks with Zarif on Iran's nuclear program longest U.S. negotiating session since 1919 Paris Conference after WWI.


UPDATE (WED 1APR): Kerry and Zarif held talks on Wednesday night. The Iranians were said to resent "new recommendations" on how to bridge the gap that have been holding up the accord. The talks are heading toward a moment of decision, The New York Time reported.

UPDATE: After failing to reach a framework agreement, the negotiators extended the talks for a second day into Thursday. Sate Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Secretary Kerry will stay until at least Thursday morning. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is also staying , so are the European FMs. The Chinese and Russian FMs have already left Lausanne.


Iran, P5+1 ministerial plenary meeting was held in Lausanne Wednesday morning. There are still unresolved issues. It appears that instead of a framework agreement, the sides might produce a “Common Understanding of Principles,” a recap of political agreements so far and way ahead.


Anonymous said...

yes, Nader, it appears that they will produce just about nothing at all at this point other than some verbiage expressing that they didn't reach any real deal.

what happens next may well be based more on facts on the ground in Syria, Iraq and Yemen in the next 75 days.

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how much Iranian intransigence and rhetoric has caused the nation. This whole thing should not have gone this far. I don’t think the issue was ever enriching Uranium or having nuclear power stations. The issue simply boiled down to “Can the World trust a nation whose leaders Khamenei and Ahmadinejad talked so much out of step” and fuelled distrust all in the support of Islam and Palestinians. Ironically neither Arabs nor Palestinians like Iranians and also the opposite is true as well. So much loss for the sake of a cause that never was and could have been avoided if a rational approach was taken in the first place. Now after years of going and coming back with endless expenses and crippling sanctions, we are left with “a framework of understanding”. Even with the best will in the World it will take years to undo “mechanically” all these sanctions and in the meantime other nations are steaming ahead.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. In Iranian politics the protagonists compare every situation to the desert of Karbala. Therefore they do not negotiate but dictate terms and repeat these terms over and over because they are not interested in an outcome. If they fail in getting a negotiated outcome they become martyrs. Obama made some amazing concessions to get a deal, before that Jimmy Carter to get the hostages out, before that Saddam during Iran-Iraq war. The regime waits until all their leverage is gone and then agree to a much worse deal negotiated in a position of weakness. Iran does not need nuclear energy, It needs renewables, it needs development of oil and gas sectors and reliable trading partners.
If the negotiations fail, Obama and Kerry can say that they have gone the extra mile to get a deal but the regime was unreasonable. This opens their hand for further sanctions and or war. Imagine if they did this tomorrow. He will have the republican congress, senate, Arab allies, European Union and Israel squarely behind him and will look like both a commander in chief and statesman at the same time. Russia and China will not lift a finger to help Iran because they value their relations with America, Arab world and Europe too much and are also irritated by Iranian intransigence (just notice how many times Chinese and Russian foreign ministers have left the negotiations) Rouhani's government will become a lame duck, Iran will become radicalized and....road to war will be opened. With the events in Yemen and the spectacular recent defeats in Syria, I don't think war is that far away. With Egypt, nuclear Pakistan and Turkey guaranteeing Saudi Arabia's security Iran cannot win a regional war.
I fear the regime needs a defeat to concentrate their mind about the geopolitical situation.

Anonymous said...


It's extremely difficult for the common observer to find out what is being discussed behind closed doors between Iran and P5+1, so how do you know it's Iran who is being the unreasonable negotiator? How do you know Iran's tough demands are not simply a negotiating tactic? Moreover, your post implies that Obama has tried to meet Iran 80% of the way, and Iran only 20%. Let's make this very clear - Iran has completely halted its nuclear program in return for very minimal sanctions relief, to the err of Rouhani's political adversaries. That is commitment.

By all accounts, Iran is committed to a deal. It has placed too much political capital for it to fail.

Anonymous said...

of you think it's hard to find out what the negotiators are're correct...

but when you throw out ... " Iran has completely halted its nuclear program" ... i gotta ask how the heck you could possibly know that????

the nuclear program is a heck of a lot more secret than the negotiations.......

Anonymous said...

In 2003 when Rouhani met the EU trio negotiations were completed in one day because the terms were simple, there was no room for ambiguity and UN security council was not involved. It is commonly considered that in return for temporary suspension Iran got nothing. This is not true Iran got European assurance that if the US ever enacted the Iran Libya sanctions act the EU will apply counter sanctions... This resulted in massive investment in Iran by European companies and a turn around in the economy the final solution was meant to be along the lines of what Iran agrees to today. Republican US administration blocked that deal, Iran failed to ratify the additional protocols and that was the end of that. After 8 UN security council resolutions the situation is different now, US wants to return the clock to 2003 not 1979. UN Sanctions are all the leverage they have as the US sanctions are economic in nature and have been there since 1979. The US sanctions do not need to be cancelled but can be simply allowed to lapse through lack of executive action. EU can cancel all the sanctions set in 2009 in it's next summit.
The design of US and EU sanctions was so that Iran changes activity before they have their negative impact. For example EU sanctions were enacted over 6 months, US sanctions need to be renewed annually etc.
As for the current negotiations Zarif set the bars very high at the start and made these aims public unlike Rouhani 2003 who gave something right at the start to show good will, Iran has conceded nothing. In 2003 the failure to reach a comprehensive deal is now in retrospect considered Western negotiators being unreasonable, today it is the reverse. For example Iran does not need 20% enriched Uranium right now, continuing to have it is a provocation. Parchin needs to be visited by IAEA, additional protocols can be enacted into law, Mr Khamenei's fatwa can be enacted into law etc..... all of these are cost free actions which can build confidence without giving anything away.
All I am saying is that Iranian negotiating position does not make sense to 99% of rest of the world, the same world we will need to engage with after the agreement is reached.