A source at the international nuclear talks in Vienna indicates that a deal with Iran is likely on Friday, probably due to a U.S. collapse on a new Iranian demand that an international arms embargo be lifted as part of the deal.
Russia, which stands to gain $7 billion in arms sales to Iran, immediately agreed to the request, adding to the pressure on the U.S. The deal will likely also require the U.S. and other international powers to provide Iran with advanced nuclear technology, to be housed in fortified underground bunkers.
The weakness in the American bargaining position had become clear in recent days, and almost a subject of international ridicule, as one deadline after another expired and the U.S. continued to offer concessions.
On Wednesday, State Department advisor Marie Harf told CNN, “We are going to stay at the table until we get a good deal”–meaning, practically, that the U.S. would offer virtually any concession to preserve the negotiating process.
The deal is far from original international demands that Iran give up all of its uranium enrichment. It is also likely to be unenforceable, since the U.S. has agreed to drop initial demands that Iran reveal the details of its past violations and allow full access to international inspections, including to military sites housing nuclear activity.
In addition, the U.S. is thought to have agreed to some amount of immediate sanctions relief to Iran, providing billions of dollars that can be used to fund Iran’s ongoing terror operations.
The Obama administration has argued that the deal will provide Iran with an incentive to become a responsible regional power–at a time when Iran is fighting in civil wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, while supporting terror organizations in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories–U.S. allies in the region believe the opposite.
The fact that the deal will be presented on July 10 means that Congress will have 60 days to consider it, rather than 30 days as originally contemplated. The deal is likely to pass unless leading Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), oppose it.