Washington Perspectives

P5+1 Negotiations with Iran - June 22 Update

June 22, 2015

Scott Flicker, Hamilton Loeb, Charles Patrizia, Behnam Dayanim & Suhas Subramanyam

Negotiations Could Continue Past June 30 Deadline

Negotiators admitted today that talks could continue past the June 30 deadline, though both sides remain committed to reaching an agreement by then. Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zerif told reporters that negotiators have discussed ways to expedite talks, and he believes that as long as “there is a political will to accept the realities and move forward based on what we agreed in Lausanne,” a final deal could be reached “by the deadline or a few days after the deadline.”  German Foreign Minister Marin Schaefer also acknowledged the tight deadline and the possibility of talks continuing into July, but he insisted that negotiators would push to reach an agreement by June 30.

A delay up to July 9 would not be a deal-breaker because any deal reached by then would still give Congress only 30 days to review it. But any deal reached past July 9 would give Congress 60 days to review a deal, which would delay lifting sanctions and give critics more time to undermine a final agreement.
P5+1 Negotiators Demand Comprehensive Nuclear Inspections, More Flexibility from Iran

British and French negotiators called robust nuclear inspections—including inspections of military sites—an “absolute red line” in negotiations. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond stressed the importance of comprehensive inspections because of “of a lack of trust on both sides,” while French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius vowed to remain firm on developing a system that included military inspections to ensure Iran’s compliance. Hammond also called for Iran to show show more flexibility in negotiations with the deadline only eight days away.
This comes a day after Iran’s parliament voted to ban foreign inspections of military sites.  But to become law the bill would need Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s approval, who has shown his commitment to reaching a final nuclear agreement over the past few months.

Iranian Supreme Leader Opposes Full Disclosure of Past Militarization

While Khamenei may be willing to compromise on foreign inspections, disclosure of Iran’s past militarization may be a deal-breaker to him. Sources told Politico that admitting Iran’s development of nuclear weapons would humiliate Khamenei, who would be viewed as a hypocrite after issuing an October 2003 fatwa forbidding the stockpile, production or use of weapons of mass destruction. Secretary of State John Kerry noted last week that such a disclosure would not be necessary to a final deal, though he later backtracked after uproar from Senate Republicans

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