No deal, yet (thanks to France): “First step” discussions with Iran to continue in the coming weeks

posted at 9:31 am on November 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

About the time that Secretary of State John Kerry suddenly decided to fly to Geneva at the end of the week to join in with the marathon round of negotiations going on between the world’s power players and Iran, there were reports of an imminent deal about a “first step” or “startup deal” in which Iran would ostensibly commit to some kind of nuclear comedown in return for, ahem, “limited, targeted, and reversible” sanctions relief. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately made it clear that the deal under discussion was a “bad deal — a very, very bad deal,” but as the talks wrapped up on Saturday night/early Sunday morning, it appears that whatever deal was in the works is still unresolved and is going to have to wait for another round of diplomatic discussion. The BBC reports that negotiations are currently set to resume on November 20th:

Talks between world powers and Iran have failed to reach an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told a press conference that there had been a lot of “concrete progress but some differences remain”. …

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was not disappointed with the outcome, and that the talks were “something we can build on”.

He said all parties were “on the same wavelength” and “there was the impetus to reach an agreement”.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “There is no question in my mind that we are closer now than we were before.”

Official spokespeople were demure about saying exactly who it was that put a kink in the works, preferring to stick with the ‘consensus-building’ and ‘progress-making’ tacks, but evidently it was the French who actually pumped the brakes on this thing. Via the AP:

France raised questions Saturday about whether a proposed deal to temporarily curb Iran’s nuclear program went far enough, complicating negotiations with the Iranians and casting doubt on whether an agreement could be reached during the current round of negotiations.

.. He said earlier that the French were holding out for conditions on the Iranians tougher than those agreed to by the U.S. and France’s other negotiating partners, diminishing hopes of a done deal Saturday. …

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke of “several points that … we’re not satisfied with compared to the initial text,” telling France-Inter Radio his country did not want to be part of a “con game.”

He did not specify, but his comments suggested France thought a final draft of any first-step deal was too favorable to Iran. Concerns also were raised by Israel and a number of prominent figures in the U.S. Congress. …

So, with France still in his corner in thwarting the Obama administration’s rush to play let’s-make-a-deal, Netanyahu’s biggest chance for riling up support now is by turning to his allies in Congress to try and block the White House’s maneuvering — but many of them are already several steps ahead on that front, via Foreign Policy:

“You’re going to see the dam break loose when the details of this come out,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Il), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Cable. “The White House is going to take a lot of friendly fire.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), who has been generally supportive of the administration’s diplomatic push, raised concern about how far the administration might go. “I am deeply troubled by reports that such an agreement may not require Tehran to halt its enrichment efforts,” he said. “In addition, I forcefully reject any notion that Iran has a ‘right’ to enrichment, a view which the administration has publicly articulated on numerous occasions.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz slammed the reported deal as “dangerous for America.”

“It appears that this ‘deal’ does not require Iran to dismantle even a single centrifuge or turn over even a single pound of enriched uranium,” he said in a statement.

The Senate Banking Committee is poised to start marking up a new round of further sanctions, a plan already heartily endorsed by the House over the summer; Harry Reid wanted to wait to start that process until after this round of Geneva talks was over, but regardless of the further-talks-are-necessary outcome in Switzerland, I wouldn’t think the hawks are likely to be deterred.


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A guy walks into a bar…

Akzed on November 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Says “Ouch!”

Akzed on November 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

So now we have socialist France to the right of us. Interesting times.

celtic warrior on November 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM

A guy walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Why the long face you lying leftist traitorous scumbag?”

Akzed on November 10, 2013 at 9:39 AM

So the GI Joe Army has turned on us–well done Prezzy.

hillsoftx on November 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Hilary is happy.

ctmom on November 10, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Have they agreed on the height of the tables yet?

Dan_Yul on November 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

You ever watch a cat catch a mouse, then break its back so that it can’t escape, then play with it mercilessly?

John Kerry is not a man, he’s a mouse. And the Cat is a Persian.

turfmann on November 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “There is no question in my mind that we are closer now than we were before.”

…to what?…BOOM!

KOOLAID2 on November 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Interesting how the Obama administration negotiates.

With republican party = You get nothing you want, we get everything we want while we call you terrorists and hostage-takers.

With actual terrorists and hostage takers = You can have everything you want, we’ll take nothing.

HumpBot Salvation on November 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Never thought I’d see the day when we were saved by France.

Pass the cheese, pls.

petefrt on November 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke of “several points that … we’re not satisfied with compared to the initial text,” telling France-Inter Radio his country did not want to be part of a “con game.”

Sounds like Obama/Kerry tried to pull a fast one on the French. Those are pretty strong words. If Kerry did change the text without consultation, then tried to sneak it past the French, it’s amateur hour. Also, saying France did not want to be part of a “con game”, that is not diplomatic. Obama/Kerry must of really pissed off the French. At this rate, at the end of Obama’s presidency, our only allies will be Syria and Iran.

Aplombed on November 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

KOOLAID2 on November 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Exactly.

kingsjester on November 10, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Never thought I’d see the day when we were saved by France.

Pass the cheese, pls.

petefrt on November 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

…sudden craving for FRENCH fries here.

slickwillie2001 on November 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Pretty bad when it’s the French who have to pull your chestnuts out of the fire because of a bumbling political hack from Chicago.

GarandFan on November 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Kerry just can’t wait to be buddies with that radical gaggle of tyrants in Iran.

rplat on November 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM

JFKerry walks into a bar.

Bartender says “Get the hell out!”

Bishop on November 10, 2013 at 10:39 AM

So, thanks to the USoA, the Parisians don’t speak German.

Now, thanks to the French, we may not end up speaking Persian.

davidk on November 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Okay, everybody who trusts France to stay tough, raise your hands. Anybody? Anybody?

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

LOL! I still have those 2 WWII French Rifles for sale. Dropped once. never shot./

However, at least someone is showing a little sense right now.

kingsjester on November 10, 2013 at 10:56 AM

kingsjester on November 10, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Amen! With this administration I don’t even think we can count on the blind squirrel or stopped clock chances of getting it right.

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM

John Kerry walked in to France.

France told him, “Get out!”

22044 on November 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Okay, everybody who trusts France to stay tough, raise your hands. Anybody? Anybody?

Cindy Munford on November 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Heh – low bar to clear.

22044 on November 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM

So many jokes about the French (and Italian) Armies. Where’s the safest place on Earth to be? On the battlefield-caught between the French and Italian armies where both sides are dispersing in opposite directions at breakneck speed.

But in America we have the “best” of both sides-Benito Obama and Francois Kerry.

MaiDee on November 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Recalling budget negotiations;
BO and JB negotiate for weeks and announce that they are close to a deal then, BO calls JB in to substantially change the terms of the deal in his favor otherwise JB takes all the heat.

BO really needs to divert the public attention,
US and Allies have been negotiating secretly with Iran for months (years?) over a deal, it is announced that we are close (Obamacare is killing his poll numbers) and the town Idiot is dispatched to Europe to swoop in and claim “Peace in our Time”, France (amazingly) reads the deal and says wait a minute you guys substantially changed the terms! BO says sign it otherwise you take all the heat for the deal falling through.

notalemon on November 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM

or “discussions”

DrStock on November 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

But in America we have the “best” of both sides-Benito Obama and Francois Kerry.

MaiDee on November 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Shirley you’re not saying that the REB’s ‘nose-in-the-air’ posing is reminiscent of Benito Mussolini?

slickwillie2001 on November 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

A guy walks into a bar DOOR…

Akzed on November 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM

(Corrected)

landlines on November 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM

At this rate, at the end of Obama’s presidency, our only allies will be Syria and Iran.

Aplombed on November 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

NO…these two countries KNOW, because they’ve seen it up close, that the US can’t be trusted as long as Obama and his clones are in charge.

We won’t have ANY allies.

landlines on November 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Well, Kerry could go to Jane Fonda and get her to pose for photos in one of the enrichment facilites where they cook up the A-Bomb material.

They worked so well before after all,, on shooting U.S. in the back stuff.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Careful now, or J. Effing Kerry will renounce his French citizenship

NOMOBO on November 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM

France has more steel than Kerry/obama.

Eunuchs are throwing a party.

Schadenfreude on November 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Let’s speak the truth about obama being a muslim, just as we finally are able to admit that he is a liar.
obama’s actions can be explained by recognizing his muslim faith, including his lies to infidels, and obama admitted that he is a muslim:
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=my+muslim+faith+obama+slip&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=D08DFBF5CABC69F3F229D08DFBF5CABC69F3F229
Why are we afraid to discuss obama’s muslim religion? After all, it is a religion of peace.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

If Kerry gets any deal with the Iranians it is bad news for Hillary.
(Bill must be working the phones hard to stop any deal.)
Next Kerry will move to the Israeli/Palestine arena.
Hillary is freaking out.
Kerry sending out the feelers…what did Hillary do in 4 years as Secretary of State?
“Benghazi!!!!”

albill on November 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

I can’t remember a time when I actually approved of something France was doing before today. The last time France did anything constructive, was the Chesapeake blockade in support of the battle of Yorktown.

burt on November 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

France gets a bad rap for military muscle, but it’s a recent stereotype; historically, they are no better or worse than most other nations.
No one gets it right (or wrong) all the time.

Never thought I’d see the day when we were saved by France.

Pass the cheese, pls.

petefrt on November 10, 2013 at 10:12 AM

France has national interests in the Middle East and Africa that would be adversely affected by Iranian hegemony, and they are fighting Islamic terrorists on the ground in former colonies.

AesopFan on November 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

When France is telling you to cowboy up, it’s a safe bet it was a big mistake electing President Clownboy McStompypants no matter how many free extra points he was awarded by the Affirmative Action Clause.

Adjoran on November 10, 2013 at 5:32 PM

France, oh come on. It is the end of the world as we know it….

crosshugger on November 10, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Obama so needs some kind of distracting victory right now …

But what about the fact that the Senate had imposed the sanctions on Iran that Obama has unilaterally undone? Is anyone in the Senate paying attention?

virgo on November 11, 2013 at 3:28 AM