P5+1 Negotiations With Iran - June 29 Update
June 29, 2015
By Scott Flicker, Hamilton Loeb, Charles Patrizia, Behnam Dayanim & Suhas Subramanyam
Negotiators Confirm Extended Talks, No New Deadline
anonymous U.S. diplomat and
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that both sides agreed on Sunday to continue negotiating past the June 30 deadline. Fabius, who has
shown skepticism of reaching a final deal, said negotiators have not set a new target date, but added that “we have made some progress.” Several reports
last week had hinted at a likely extension of talks past tomorrow’s deadline. The
real deadline for a final deal may be July 9 because Congress would only have 30 days to approve or reject an agreement reached by then.
Nonetheless, negotiations appear to be entering their
final stages this week as top negotiators from every country will be in Vienna by tomorrow. Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif left Vienna on Sunday to confer with Iranian officials, but he will return tomorrow along with Hasan Rouhani, the brother of Iran’s president, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
P5+1 Negotiators Lay Out Imperatives, Accuse Iran of Backtracking
Fabius and other P5+1 officials also
indicated that three key issues still remain: (1) limitations on Iran’s nuclear research and production, (2) verification of Iran’s compliance, and (3) the implementation of sanctions with an adequate mechanism to snapback sanctions if necessary. Some progress has been made on the research issues, but many questions still remain about verification, particularly where, when and how long U.N. inspectors would be able to verify Iran’s compliance. The U.S. and Germany, for instance,
both insist on more intrusive monitoring. The P5+1 has also discussed the mechanics of snapping back sanctions both with Iran and within its own ranks. Most notably, Fabius affirmed that Russia and China would likely suspend their U.N. Security Council veto power to allow for automatic snapback of sanctions if Iran reneged on a final deal.
But while the issues have narrowed, P5+1 negotiators say that Iran has
started backtracking on important issues. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond pointed out that there were still “major difference of interpretation in detailing what was agreed” to in the original Lausanne framework. A U.S. official confirmed the backtracking, blaming it on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s
speech last week in which he argued against long-term freezes on nuclear development, one of Iran’s concessions in the Lausanne framework.
Outcome of Talks Will Impact Iranian Politics
Iran President Hassan Rouhani has a lot to gain if negotiators in Vienna reach a final deal. A Reuters article
argues that a nuclear deal that lifts sanctions would be an economic coup for Rouhani and potentially win he and his allies control over all key institutions in the 2016 Iranian elections. One analyst told Reuters that such power could even threaten Khamenei, who currently supports Rouhani but would want preserve his complete power over the country. A Politico last week
also contemplated post-deal politics in Iran, though it argued that Rouhani’s future would depend more on his ability to reconcile the wishes of hardline conservatives with his ambitions for Iran’s economy.