Iran blames US for 'gutting deal's draft,' foiling agreement

After US's Kerry accuses Iranian of last-minute decision against deal, Iran's FM Zarif pans US's 'conflicting statements' which damaged confidence

Talks were "definitely not a failure," a Western diplomat said earlier on Monday, but the blame game between Iran and the six world powers over the indefinitely postponed agreement continues. After US State Secretary John Kerry told reporters on Monday that it was the Iranians who made a last-minute decision not to sign the deal, his Iranian counterpart answered via Twitter: "Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of US draft Thursday night? and publicly commented against it Friday morning?"


Mohamed Javad Zarif added that his country is "committed to a constructive engagement." Zarif said later Monday that Kerry's "conflicting statements" damaged confidence in the process and noted "considerable progress was made" during the talks in Geneva.


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Zarif said in remarks on an Iranian TV talk show that he is still hopeful a deal will be reached but insists any agreement must include the lifting of all Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic.


Zarif's Tweets


Visiting in the United Arab Emirates, Kerry said on Monday that there is still a gap between the Iranian and Western stances. Other senior officials told the Washington Post that Iran was concerned over specific limitations on its uranium enrichment program and on the Arak heavy water facility.


"We're not in a race to complete an Iran nuclear deal," Kerry told reporters.


Earlier on Monday, a top Western diplomat in Brussels said that "the collective assessment of the group was that some more time would still be needed; that was not just the assessment of the French," referring to reports in some quarters blaming France for holding up a deal.


The talks were "very intensive, very complex, very detailed and constructive," the diplomat added, saying that an agreement to return to the negotiating table as early as next week "shows how serious we are."


It was "crucial to keep momentum," the diplomat said.


John Kerry, today (Photo: AP)


Kerry with Russian counterpart Lavrov (Photo: EPA)


Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran agreed to increase the Iranian nuclear program's transparency, and allow UN inspectors increased access to a uranium mine in Gechin and to the Arak facility within three months.


According to the agreement's outline, Iran will supply details about new research facilities and future nuclear plants. Iran will also clarify its past statements regarding additional uranium enrichment facilities.


Meawhile, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said world powers would lift some of the sanctions they have imposed on Iran if a preliminary deal over its nuclear program could be reached.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel, the US, China, Europe and Russia share the same goal – preventing Iran from achieving nuclear arms. According to Netanyahu, the time has come to improve the deal, before alleviating sanctions.


Also on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon claimed that Iran's President Rohani and Zarif "know how to deceive and manipulate – and have been so far successful."


"We have said from the start and continue to say that the Iranian nuclear regime needs to be stopped one way or another, otherwise it would be a nightmare, and not only for Israel. Israel is prepared to protect itself on its own," he added.


This week American lawmakers announced they intend to enact further sanctions against Iran.


However, it was reported that Congress will wait for Kerry's briefing on the issue before a decision is made.


State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said Kerry will brief the Senate on Wednesday.


AP contibuted to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 11.11.13, 23:08
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