Iran daily: Obama on nuclear deal — “We are testing Tehran to see if it is serious”

Continuing his PR that the US is challenging Iran to make concessions in nuclear talks, President Obama said on Sunday that Washington is testing Tehran to see if it is “serious” about a deal.

Obama said in an interview with CBS News:

We have made progress in narrowing the gaps, but those gaps still exist.

And I would say that over the next month or so, we’re going to be able to determine whether or not their system is able to accept what would be an extraordinarily reasonable deal, if in fact, as they say, they are only interested in peaceful nuclear programs.

In a series of intense discussions since the start of the year, the US and the other 5+1 Powers (Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) have obtained Iranian concessions over uranium enrichment and the holding of its nuclear fuel. However, the Islamic Republic is insisting that US-led sanctions, especially on its oil and banking sectors, are removed within months of an agreement.

The two sides face a July 1 deadline for a comprehensive resolution. They resume negotiations on Sunday in Switzerland.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said “technical issues” were resolved last week in his discussions with US Energy Secretary of State Ernest Moniz. However, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif restated over the weekend that the sanctions must be lifted quickly, in contrast to reports that the US envisages a process taking “years”.

Obama gave no details in his Sunday interview, asserting:

If we are able to verify that in fact they are not developing weapons systems, then there’s a deal to be had. But that’s going to require them to accept the kind of verification and constraints on their program that so far, at least, they have not been willing to say yes to.

The President, who has estimated the chance of an agreement at less than 50%, concluded, “If there’s no deal, then we walk away.”

By EA WorldView