Nearly a year has passed since Iran and the six world powers signed an interim nuclear deal, nearly a year of negotiations, technical talks, extensions and months upon months of attempts to bridge the “gap” that has – wide or small – hovered over the talks and prevented a final-status agreement from being reached.
On Monday, the parties will either reach a deal, postpone the deadline or abandon the talks altogether; with the negotiations heading down to the wire, we took a look at the latest coverage of the final stretch.
Most prominent English-language news outlets led their reports on the talks with headlines announcing “big” and “serious” gaps that remain between the parties, echoing the words of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Some reports, following Reuters’s lead, stated that the talks may be or are likely to be extended, while others suggested the West was mulling “new concessions” in an effort to bridge the gap.
Mostly, though, the headlines weren’t too confident. The Wall Street Journal reported “little optimism” as “talks head down to the wire,” then amended the headline, citing a Western diplomat saying there was “still time” to seal the deal. The Telegraph’s David Blair, meanwhile, berated Washington and Tehran for “counting centrifuges” in Vienna when these “emblems of national pride” would not actually be able to operate in its Russian-supplied civilian nuclear facilities – and so are of no use in Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Over at The Daily Beast, Djavad Khadem censured Western governments for negotiating with an undemocratic regime that bears “the infamy of religious, ethnic, political, and gender-based discrimination, “writing that any deal must be contingent on “free and fair” elections in Iran to ensure a more stable future (NPR Deborah Amos disagreed, writing that a deal would strengthen Iran’s middle class rather than its ayatollahs).
Bringing to question whether the “gaps” are technical or ideological. After all, technical gaps can be bridged with political will. The Iranians seem to lack this will to compromise and make a real change.
Iran’s still finding pretexts to keep UN nuclear inspectors out of the country – most recently because of one official’s reportedly American nationality. The clock may have been ticking since last November, but some things have stayed the same…