Nuclear Talks Adjourn With Hopes High But Issues Still Unresolved
France is reportedly taking hard line on United Nations sanctions relief
A round of peace talks between Iran and six world powers adjourned one day early in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday with P5+1 nations (the U.S., Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, Germany) at loggerheads over issues including sanctions relief and yet with hopes still high that diplomacy can proceed.
The official reason for the recess was to allow Iranian delegates to attend the funeral of President Hassan Rouhani's mother, and talks are slated to resume next week.
However, reports are emerging that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to meet with European representatives over the weekend in attempt to smooth over disagreements before the next round begins.
A rift has emerged between the U.S. and France over the lifting of United Nations sanctions, with France taking a hardline by opposing quick relief in the event of a deal.
"Diplomats say the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, telephoned the French delegation in Lausanne to ensure it did not make further concessions, and to insist that the bulk of UN sanctions could only be lifted if Iran gave a full explanation of evidence suggesting it may have done development work on nuclear warhead design in the past," the Guardian reports.
Nonetheless, Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian-American Council, told Common Dreams he is "very optimistic" about the talks.
"I think they will come back next week and get it done," said Abdi. "They have accomplished so much and come so far. It is now coming down on how to deal with UN resolutions. Iranians want to make sure the sanctions are lifted."
However, Abdi added, "The UN sanctions issue is somewhat symbolic. What is going to make the difference are the European Union sanctions and the U.S. sanctions. I am still concerned about the U.S. being able to lift sanctions and beginning to end the policy that hurts ordinary people inside of Iran."