Incoherent P5+1 Hinder Iran Nuclear Talks Progress

EU's HR Catherine Ashton holds trilateral meeting with French FM Fabius and Iran FM Zarif, in Geneva.

EU’s HR Catherine Ashton holds trilateral meeting with French FM Fabius and Iran FM Zarif, in Geneva.

The progress for Iran to reach a long-sought deal with world powers is hindered as French Foreign Minister undermines a preliminary deal Iran finally managed to clinch with the US and the UK over its nuclear issue, by finding “serious stumbling blocks”.While foreign ministers of the P5+1 spontaneously join the ongoing Geneva talks between Tehran and the world powers, rising optimism that a deal would be reached at the end of a long-sought nuclear dispute with Iran, hopes for a significant progress in talks fade away as reports say France and other powers have found “serious stumbling blocks” in Iran’s proposed package.

While foreign ministers of the P5+1 spontaneously join the ongoing Geneva talks between Tehran and the world powers, rising optimism that a deal would be reached at the end of a long-sought nuclear dispute with Iran, hopes for a significant progress in talks fade away as reports say France and other powers have found “serious stumbling blocks” in Iran’s proposed package.

Reports from Geneva say French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has refused to agree with the draft of Iran proposed joint statement. Fabius’ remarks came as the extended talks entered their third day on Saturday and a lot of progress was obtained with the US and the UK, two major powers previously believed to be the strictest of other powers regarding Iran’s nuclear issue.

In an interview with Al-Monitor’s Laura Rosen, a senior P5+1 diplomat has spoken of a disparity between members of the group. since last year, Iranian negotiators have repeatedly complained about the lack of unity in the group which has deterred reaching a solid agreement with Tehran.

French negotiators are said to take the strictest position in the talks against Iran, witnesses of the talks have said, and their bald statements have repeatedly derailed the progress of the talks.

A member of the Iranian negotiating team told IransView that during Almaty I and II talks which took place in February and April 2013 in Kazakhstan, French Foreign Ministry Director-General for Political and Security Affairs Jacques Audibert, who served as the French top negotiator then, prompted Saeed Jalili to warn of leaving the talk session.

“While Jalili was elaborating on a PowerPoint slideshow provided by the Iranian team, Audibert undiplomatically reactioned to a slide titled as ‘Common grounds of Iran – P5+1 cooperation’ and said they had not come to cooperate with Iran to reach a deal, but to stop Iran’s nuclear program,” the diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “In response, Jalili said he would leave the room if the group is seeking to fight in the talks.”

The diplomat further added that Ashton and even Americans were dissatisfy with french positions and P5+1 tried to stop Audibert from making such statements during the next rounds of talks.

Observers in Tehran say that France take a stark position towards Iran while the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has invited French officials to cooperate with Iran several times.

“I would like […] to point out that officials of the French government have been openly hostile towards the Iranian nation over the past few years and this is not a clever move by French government officials,” said Ayatollah Khamenei during a speech on March 21, 2013.

“A wise politician should never have the motivation to turn a neutral country into an enemy. We have never had problems with France and the French government, neither in the past nor in the present era. However, since the time of Sarkozy, the French government has adopted a policy of opposing the Iranian nation and unfortunately the current French government is pursuing the same policy. In our opinion, this is a wrong move. It is ill-advised and unwise.”

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