This week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton held yet more “useful” and “fruitful” nuclear talks, this time in Istanbul. Iran has said that a deal is still possible, although agreement on key issues still eludes the parties.
But why is that? After all, as the press reported with great fanfare last week, Zarif has finally managed to secure the backing of a major critic of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s more moderate policies, nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who said “all must support” Zarif’s efforts to negotiate a deal – transcending “narrow political and factional debates.”
The endorsement by Jalili, notorious for his anti-US rhetoric, should indicate that Iran is determined to reach an agreement with the West and is taking far-reaching steps to facilitate it. The fruitful talks did not prevent the Supreme Leader from ranting his usual rhetoric against the west this week- “jihad will continue until america is no more” as reported in the Daily Caller.
Clearly “fruitful talks” is interest prone, not ideological.
Efforts by the Iranian press to send out reassuring messages as the end of Ashton’s mandate nears also show Tehran hopes to finalize a deal, and fears any changes in the Western negotiating team will make things more difficult.
On the other hand, Jalili’s blessing might not be as dramatic as it seems, considering recent reports indicating that the military aspect of Iran’s nuclear program has actually remained intact throughout the negotiations. This week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that even while meeting with the P5+1 and vowing to inform the IAEA of explosives testing, Iran has kept its core team of weaponization experts intact.
Yes, the nuclear talks are being described in the media as fruitful time and again. But apparently, the nuclear program in question has been “fruitful” in its own right…