As we passed the deadline for talks between Iran and the P5+1 over the former’s nuclear program, one thing is clear: it has not been met.
Most Western media outlets reported throughout Saturday that the July 20 deadline would be postponed until November 24. But they didn’t go about it neutrally.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, whose stance on Iran we have covered in the past, posted an op-ed by Brig. Gen. John H. Johns and Angela Canterbury, both of the Council for a Livable World, on his blog on Saturday. In it, the two hailed Iran’s compliance with the West and its commitment to the process of nuclear concessions, while ignoring the non-compromising red lines bluntly outlined by Supreme Leader Khamenei – to cite just one example.
The Independent, too, put Iran’s cooperation at the forefront of its report on the extension, saying also that it would receive some sanctions relief – $2.8 billion in frozen assets, in fact – as a reward. Reuters, on the other hand, led its own story with a mention of the “crucial choices” France said Iran would now have to make to reach a deal.
Over at The Guardian, blogger Julian Borger used a football analogy to suggest that with the talks now going into “extra time” due to a deadlock over enrichment levels, Iran would have to “get over” the “fixation” of “keeping every one of its existing centrifuges in place,” while the West would “have to dilute its own obsession with breakout time” – as if the Iranian demand to keep churning out uranium is tantamount to the West’s concern over Tehran’s nuclear progress.
In Tehran, the Tasnim news agency presented the extension as an achievement of sorts, quoting a former British ambassador as saying the chances for an agreement were now “better than ever.”
And we have to wonder, how do the statements regarding the cooperative, committed and confidence-inspiring Iranian attitude cohabit with the Supreme Leader limitations and the fact that a deal hasn’t actually been signed?