US and Iranian officials have plunged into a last-ditch effort to rescue their nuclear negotiations from falling into deep crisis. Some Western observers have told DEBKAfile’s Washington and Tehran sources that the talks are beyond saving.
The top-level negotiators rushed post-haste to Geneva over the weekend are: US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to join US Secretary of State John Kerry; and on the Iranian side, Nuclear Energy Commission Chief Ali Akbar Salehi and the president’s brother Hossein Fereydoon. They will flank Foreign Minister Mohamed Javaz Zarif.
The Obama administration appears to have reached the limit of its concession to Tehran – for now. As for the Iranians, they too are holding out against US demands to cut down on the number of centrifuges actively enriching uranium and impose a cap on their enriched stocks. Tehran also rejects the US proposal to lift sanctions in stages spaced over several years and wants fast relief.
Kerry was referring to these differences in the gloomy remarks he made to reporters Saturday, Feb. 21.
“There are still significant gaps, there is still a distance to travel,” he said, and went on to warn that “President Obama has no inclination whatsoever to extend these talks beyond the period that has been set out.”
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