The One Obstacle To An Iran Nuclear Deal


Nuclear Deal flags

As June 30 approaches, Iran’s unwillingness to allow foreign investigators inspect its nuclear sites remains the major impasse from reaching a deal over its nuclear program.

“Definitely, no permission will be given to foreigners for the access, in whatever way, to military sites,” deputy chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, told the Iranian Students News Agency.

Talks over the Iran’s nuclear program will take place later this month in Vienna and Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed Tuesday that he would be in attendance.

Iran and their negotiating partners, Germany plus the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries (U.S., France, U.K., China, and Russia), are balancing domestic political pressures against their desire to strike a deal. Hardliners on both sides are pushing for less negotiating and those involved in the negotiating process are trying to take that into account while still finding an acceptable compromise.

Critics of the negotiations want Iran to admit and atone for researching nuclear weapons in the past. This isn’t something being stressed by the current negotiations, however as the focus is clearly on gaining access to sites.

“Access remains very critical and has to be addressed,” Kerry told reporters from Boston on Tuesday in his first press conference since breaking his leg in a bicycling accident last month. “We’re not fixated on Iran accounting for what it did at one point in time or another.”

“Access is very, very critical,” Kerry said. “It’s always been critical from Day 1.”

Meanwhile, Iran is pushing hard to have sanctions that impede oil sales and financial transfers lifted with haste. Sanctions could be lifted before Iran answers the International Atomic Energy Agency’s questions about its program, according to the New York Times.

While the negotiations still seem far off, the last round reached an agreement at the last minute and analysts believe the same could happen this time.

Kerry has remained adamant that no deal will be pushed through without first reaching agreeable conditions. “The talks remain tough,” Kerry said. “And just as I have said consistently, we’re not going to rush to an agreement for the sake of an agreement, and we’re not going to sign an agreement that we don’t believe gets the job done.”

But Dr. Patrick Clawson, a Morningstar Senior Fellow and Iran expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told ThinkProgress he thinks a deal will come through.

Clawson expects Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei to take a middle ground stance whereby he says he doesn’t like the deal but won’t impede it from passing. That way he covers his bases and should the deal fall apart he can deflect blame. Should it succeed, he can then also take credit for allowing it to go through.

Clawson believes the holdup over allowing inspectors in could potentially be solved by placing specific restrictions on the IAEA’s inspections. Such exception have been made before with countries like North Korea, though Clawson said he preferred if Iran would “stick to the rules” imposed by IAEA.

“The two negotiating teams are very eager for a deal,” said Clawson. “I think we’ll get a deal.”


Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress 

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