Top officials from the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran met in Geneva this weekend to negotiate the final parameters of a nuclear deal with the Ayatollah’s regime.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were on hand to come to terms over unresolved issues, such as economic sanctions and nuclear inspections, according to reports. The talks lasted six hours and were described as “at times intense,” the Associated Press reported.
Zarif remained noncommittal to a strict June 30 deadline for a deal, saying that Iran “will try” to reach an agreement by then.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said American and Iranian negotiators would again meet in Vienna, Austria, next week to discuss terms.
One major sticking point for the United States team has been that Iran must comply with inspections of its nuclear sites. Iran’s leadership has continued to send conflicting messages about the nuclear inspections. The U.S. negotiators continue to insist there will be no final deal without Iran agreeing to examinations of its nuclear sites.
Iran dictator Ali Khamenei has stated, “Regarding inspections, we have said that we will not let foreigners inspect any military center.” Around the same time, another prominent Iranian cleric promised that Tehran would “never allow” inspections of its nuclear facilities.
But Iranian negotiators–who have no real authority unless approved by the Mullah–have recently stated that Iran will allow for “managed access” to its nuclear sites.
Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycle crash outside Geneva, leading some to speculate that his return to the United States could delay a final agreement. Kerry flew home Monday to meet with an orthopedic surgeon in Boston. The P5+1 world powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China) and Iran have until a self-imposed June 30 deadline to reach an accord.