After a weekend of optimistic statements about an interim deal over Iran’s nuclear programme — perhaps this week in meetings between the Iranians and the 5+1 Powers in Geneva — both the US and France put out tougher lines on Sunday about the negotiations.
Far from coincidentally, the positions of both countries were linked to Israel, with French President Francois Hollande beginning three days of talks in West Jerusalem and US Secretary of State John Kerry arriving on Friday, as the talks are proceeding in Geneva.
Hollande, whose delegation blocked an interim deal last weekend, repeated the condition that construction of the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor must be halted. He also insisted, “Put all the Iranian nuclear installations under international supervision, right now….Suspend enrichment to 20 percent [of uranium]….Reduce the existing stock.”
Iran appears willing to meet the latter three demands, but is unlikely to agree to a long-term suspension of Arak’s construction.
Hollande’s stand boosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared at their press conference, “It’s clear that this agreement is good only for Iran and that it’s really bad for the rest of the world. Iran’s dream deal is the world’s nightmare.”
Meanwhile, “informed US sources” paralleled Hollande’s statement, telling the Israeli daily Haaretzthat the 5+1 Powers would insist on a freeze of construction inside Arak and of the current levels of all enriched uranium — not just 20% stock, but the lower-level 3.5% — inside the country.
By EA WorldView
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