Rumor has it that a framework nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is going to be finalized soon – by Tuesday, in fact, when the clock runs out on the agreed-upon deadline. But despite some optimistic forecasts, the final stretch of the months-long negotiations is shrouded in uncertainty: have the six powers and Iran agreed on just enough for a framework agreement, or have they gone all the way?
As some reports from Lausanne, where “confident” leaders were congregating this weekend for the final push, indicated that the talks are “edging closer” to a deal and that the “endgame” is nigh, other reports painted a less sanguine (and confident) picture: with just days to go, Iran is “being very tough on the most difficult issues,” CNN reported; according to The New York Times, the talks have become so difficult that Washington no longer sees “a path forward” to a deal by Tuesday – unless “tough decisions” are made by Tehran. RT, too, cited Mideast expert Paul Heroux saying “Iran is not really willing to put its signature to anything.” (According to Reuters, France’s UN ambassador said as much a few days ago.)
Meanwhile, The Atlantic published an analysis by Trita Parsi, who insisted that even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – notorious for outspoken opposition to President Hassan Rouhani’s path of engagement with the West – actually wants a deal with world powers, even though his rhetoric might suggest the exact opposite. As if that weren’t enough of a leap of logic, Parsi cited the Treaty of Turkmenchay – signed with Russia in 1828 (then an enemy, now a nuclear supplier) – as a major reason for Iran’s reluctance to compromise with Washington. He then went on to equate losing “uranium-enrichment rights” with losing “territory.” Either Khamenei is playing very hard to get – to the point that we’re not really sure he’s in the game at all – or Parsi is once again lobbying in the name of Iranian interests (instead of advancing Iranian-American interests).