Three days of intense talks about Iran’s nuclear program ended early Sunday with no deal. However, key players insisted that the process is moving in the right direction.
Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif commented, “I think we are all on the same wavelength, and that’s important.” CNN reports that the inclusion of top diplomats like Zarif, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and US Secretary of State John Kerry had some thinking that a plan would come through.
In particular, some hoped there would be a plan to reduce the crippling sanctions against Iran over concerns it could develop nuclear weapons. While that wasn’t the case this time, the same countries are expected to meet to discuss the issue again later this month.
Repeated findings by UN weapons inspectors indicate that the country appears, or at least appeared, to be conducting nuclear weapons research. However, Iran repeatedly denied the accusations, saying its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes, notes The New York Times.
Appearing next to Zarif at a news conference on Sunday morning, Ashton commented, “A lot of concrete progress has been made, but some differences remain. I think it was natural that when we started dealing with the details, there would be differences.”
However, it was more than just differences between Iran and the major powers that prevented a deal. The negotiating group also experienced trouble when France objected that a proposed deal wouldn’t do enough to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment or to stop the country from developing a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius explained to reporters, “The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed.” While Ashton and Zarif did not criticize France, the disappointment over a lack of success was easy to see.
The next meeting about Iran’s nuclear program will involve political directors, instead of foreign ministers.
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