The prospect of Iran and the P5+1 hammering out a deal in the current three days of talks in Geneva is looking less and less likely, as every single foreign minister from all six P5+1 nations was missing in action.
Iran seemed taken aback by this, saying there were none of the bilateral talks they were expecting and that there is “no prospect” for a deal at the present.
The State Department shrugged off the news, saying all six nations had agreed the European Union’s Catherine Ashton would do all the negotiating for now. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did eventually arrive, late Friday, and Ashton suggested the foreign ministers might still come if the talks made progress. Some reports suggested they are planning to do so, and that the three day talks might extend into overtime.
The last round of Geneva talks had virtually finalized a deal, at which point all of the foreign ministered show up for an expected signing ceremony that was later killed by last minute French opposition. It had been assumed they’d return to where they left off at those talks, but officials seem content to tone down the talks for now, which not only downgrades the prospect for a deal, but raises the chances that even if Ashton does get something close to finalized, the foreign ministers might kill it again in the days to come.