Threatens to Walk Out of ‘Complicated and Difficult’ Talks (Kommersant,
“On the first day of talks, the Iranians threatened to walk out. But they never reached the point of packing their briefcases. On the second day, Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, exclaimed, 'I've had enough!' and ordered his delegation to start packing. But the threat didn’t materialize this time either. A diplomatic source explained that this was a 'much-used tactic ... that heightens the drama – and then they agree to something inconsequential.'”
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili: Russian and Western sources attest to his tendency to drama - threatening to walk out of talks, then returning to the table and 'agreeing to something inconsequential.'
Two days of talks on the Iranian nuclear issue ended yesterday
evening in Moscow. The main result was a decision to continue the dialogue: the
experts will meet on July 3 in Istanbul. However, it seems as if the United
States no longer sees the point of continuing, and as Kommersant
has learned, it has prepared a new package of sanctions, which
are intended to isolate Iran from the outside world. Moscow considers this approach
Great tension marked both days of talks. On Monday, after a
break for lunch and prayer, the leader of the Iranian delegation told reporters
that the atmosphere at the talks was “not very positive” and chided international
negotiators for “wasting time” after the previous round of talks in Baghdad in
May. A little later, the Iranians even threatened to walk out. But they never reached
the point of packing their briefcases.
Taking stock after the first day of negotiations, Iran’s Deputy
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Bagheri
described the talks as “constructive and serious.” The head of the Russian
delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov,
also tried to radiate optimism. “What matters most is that both parties have the
political will,” he said, while adding as an aside that, “the positions of the
parties are quite complicated and difficult to reconcile.” Members of the E.U.
foreign policy committee were the most forthcoming, calling the exchange of views
“harsh.” Neither side made any concrete statements about the content of the talks.
Consultations resumed yesterday around noon, and information
has become ever-more scarce. The Hotel “Golden Ring,” where the talks took
place, was closed to the press. When a few negotiators did run into members of
the press corps, they expressed conflicting opinions. A source in the Iranian
delegation said that Tehran had presented its proposal to the “six” and was
awaiting a response, when secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, SaeedJalili, exclaimed, “I've
had enough!” and ordered his delegation to start packing. But the threat didn’t
materialize this time either: instead of heading to the airport, Mr. Jalili met with E.U. foreign policy chief
Catherine Ashton [Catherine Ashton's full title is "high representative of the Union for foreign
affairs and security policy."]
source from one of the “six” who is familiar with the negotiations explained that
this was a “much-used tactic ... that heightens the drama – and then they agree
to something inconsequential.” According to the diplomat, it was unclear to international
negotiators exactly what Tehran wanted in exchange for halting its uranium
enrichment program. The same source did not exclude the possibility that “the status
quo is beneficial to the Iranians for domestic political reasons, as way of unifying
As a result, the status quo prevailed. The talks dragged on
for a record nine hours - and many negotiators, including Catherine Ashton, had
to reschedule their flights. An agreement to continue the dialogue was reached
late into the night. The first will be a meeting of experts from each
delegation in Istanbul on July 3. After that, delegation deputy chiefs Ali Bagheri and Helga Schmid will communicate;
and then the ultimate decisions will be taken by SaeedJalili and Catherine Ashton.
“Negotiations were extremely difficult and very strained.
Unfortunately, the two sides are still very far apart,” a source in the Russian
delegation said. “But we will continue to seek mutually acceptable solutions. Talks
will continue with virtually no interruption – it is extremely important.”
However, some representatives of the “six” - particularly
the U.S. - no longer see the point. A Kommersant
source close to the American delegation reported that Washington has already
prepared a new package of sanctions against Tehran. The U.S. may declare an
embargo on Iranian ports of entry to foreign air and marine vessels. Those who
disregard the embargo will be denied access to the infrastructure in the U.S.
and E.U. Sanctions of this magnitude will practically isolate Iran from the
rest of the world. The calculation is clear: if Iran's economy is on the verge
of collapse by the time the 2013 presidential election rolls around, Iranian
citizens will vote against the regime that proclaimed the right to nuclear
proliferation as a national idea.
Moscow categorically opposes unilateral sanctions, regarding
them as illegal and ineffective. “The Iranians have continued their enrichment
activities, despite harsh sanctions,” explained a Kommersant
source close to the Russian delegation. “Strengthening the implementation of sanctions
or following a scenario of force (promoted by Israel and the U.S.) may instead
cause the Iranian population to rally around the regime. The consequences of an
escalation of violence in the region would be unpredictable.”
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