Washington Perspectives

P5+1 Negotiations with Iran - June 24 Update

June 24, 2015

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

Leaked Draft of Final Agreement Shows Slow Progress, Nuclear Technology Offer to Iran

The Associated Press obtained a leaked copy of a final nuclear agreement which indicates that talks remain behind schedule in Vienna. The document, one of several appendices meant to accompany the main deal, shows bracketed text in dozens of places where key disagreements remain. A diplomat familiar with talks added that while agreements had been reached on limits to Iran's research and development of uranium-enriching centrifuges and ways of ensuring Tehran keeps its commitments, both sides were still apart on how transparent Iran must be and other ancillary issues.

The leaked document also reveals that the P5+1 is offering Iran high-tech light-water nuclear reactors to replace Iran’s heavy-water facility in Arak capable of producing plutonium, a key nuclear weapon ingredient. The light-water reactors are part of an “international partnership” that also includes P5+1 countries making arrangements for the supply and removal of nuclear fuel for all the refashioned reactors provided. The program also offers Iran expertise in nuclear technology, nuclear safety, nuclear medicine, research and nuclear waste removal.   

Iran’s Guardian Council Ratifies Bill to Prevent Foreign Inspections of Military Sites

Iran’s Guardian Council approved a bill passed by the country’s parliament earlier this week to ban foreign inspectors from military sites and require that any final nuclear deal must immediately lift all sanctions as soon as it goes into effect. The Guardian Council’s approval of the bill’s constitutionality ensures that the bill will become law, complicating negotiations further.
While the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could still nix the bill, the law mirrors sentiments voiced by him yesterday. But some Iran political experts point out that Khamenei had drawn similar red lines publicly during the Lausanne negotiations, only to support a contradictory Lausanne agreement later.  The experts argue that Khamenei is simply appealing to conservative constituencies, and his remarks are still consistent with support for negotiations.

The new law and Khamenei’s public statements also clash with public opinion according to a new study released this week.  The study found that more than 80% of Iranians support reaching a nuclear deal and 57% support a final deal that includes Iran consenting to extensive international inspections.

P5+1 Reacts to Khamenei’s Tough Stance

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that Khamenei’s statements on Tuesday appeared not to favor a final agreement.  Fabius said at a news conference today that France would remain firm and not agree to a deal that included robust inspections. The Obama administration appears more optimistic, noting that it was focused on what happens in negotiations and not on public statements by Khamenei or anyone else.
But leaked internal White House discussions show less trust in Iran.  For instance, the Obama administration continues to wrestle with ways to fashion a final deal that would allow the U.S. to reimpose sanctions immediately without undermining talks in Vienna. The U.S. has also prepared military options if negotiations fail and tensions escalate, including employing a new B-2 stealth bomber to take out Iranian nuclear facilities.

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