Iran Twice Threatens to Walk Out of ‘Complicated and Difficult’ Talks (Kommersant, Russia)
On Monday and Tuesday, the latest round of talks between the Iran what is currently being referred to as “the six world powers” took place in Moscow. According to this account of events from Russia’s Kommersant, the Iranian delegation punctuated ‘difficult and very strained’ talks with threats to walk out that never materialized.
Great tension marked both days of talks. On Monday, after a break for lunch and prayer, the leader of the Iranian delegation told reporters that the atmosphere at the talks was “not very positive” and chided international negotiators for “wasting time” after the previous round of talks in Baghdad in May. A little later, the Iranians even threatened to walk out. But they never reached the point of packing their briefcases.
Taking stock after the first day of negotiations, Iran’s Deputy Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Bagheri described the talks as “constructive and serious.” The head of the Russian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, also tried to radiate optimism. “What matters most is that both parties have the political will,” he said, while adding as an aside that, “the positions of the parties are quite complicated and difficult to reconcile.”
A source in the Iranian delegation said that Tehran had presented its proposal to the “six” and was awaiting a response, when secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, exclaimed, “I’ve had enough!” and ordered his delegation to start packing. But the threat didn’t materialize this time either: instead of heading to the airport, Mr. Jalili met with E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton [Catherine Ashton's full title is "high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy."]
Kommersant’s diplomatic source from one of the “six” who is familiar with the negotiations explained that this was a “much-used tactic … that heightens the drama – and then they agree to something inconsequential.” According to the diplomat, it was unclear to international negotiators exactly what Tehran wanted in exchange for halting its uranium enrichment program. The same source did not exclude the possibility that “the status quo is beneficial to the Iranians for domestic political reasons, as way of unifying the population.”
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