Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, believed to be on the cusp of a final agreement, appear to have hit a brick wall today amid reports that various Western nations, particularly the US, are changing their positions and “walking back” previous concessions.
Iranian negotiators say that the talks are less and less a multilateral negotiation and more like five simultaneous bilateral negotiations, with every Western nation present Iran their own “red lines” on the deal. They say negotiators are often “flexible” on other nations’ red lines, but not their own.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed Iran’s assessment of the situation, saying Western nations were suddenly rejecting a draft resolution which others had suggested would be entirely successful, and saying the fault of the latest delay was not Iran’s.
As usual, there is comparatively little detail on what exactly the new disputes are, though inspections of Iranian conventional military sites are believed to be among the issues.
It is noteworthy that while earlier in the week everyone was treating a deal as all but inevitable, US officials began talking down the chances of a deal a couple of days ago. Since then, it seems, the US has made wholesale changes to its demands in the talks, making a quick deal much harder to reach.
Why the US, and apparently other Western nations, have shifted away from the nearly finalized deal with shifting demands is unknown, but may suggest they believe they can coax Iran into more concessions by moving the finish line on the deal.