Persian Negotiators Played the West: Final Deal Reached With Iran

By Jethro Mullen and Nic Robertson. After tortuous talks that spanned 20 months, negotiators have reached a landmark deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear program.

The agreement, a focal point of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, appears set to reshape relations between Iran and the West, with its effects likely to ripple across the volatile Middle East.

Representatives of Iran, the United States and the other nations involved in the marathon talks were holding a final meeting in Vienna on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the session, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the deal a “historic moment,” although he cautioned that it was “not perfect.”

“It’s a good day for diplomacy, it’s a good day for compromise, it’s a good day for a new beginning between Iran — a pivotal state in the Middle East — and the United States,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East studies at The London School of Economics. (Read more about the final Iran talks HERE)

What Happened Yesterday During Negotiations

By Matthew Lee and George Jahn. Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons unexpectedly persisted at Iran nuclear talks on Monday, diplomats said, threatening plans to wrap up a deal by midnight — the latest in a series of deadlines for the negotiations.

The diplomats said two other issues still needed final agreement — Iran’s demand for a lifting of a U.N. arms embargo and its insistence that any U.N. Security Council resolution approving the nuclear deal be written in a way that stops describing Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal. They demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the negotiations.

With a temporary deal set to expire at midnight Monday Vienna time (6 p.m. ET), diplomats said they hoped to complete and announce a final agreement before day’s end.

But they warned there was no guarantee, and some said the talks could stretch into Tuesday despite there being little appetite for what would be a fourth extension of the interim agreement since the current round began on June 27.

Grim-faced foreign ministers from the countries negotiating with Iran declined to answer questions about another possible extension as they gathered for a group meeting at the 19th Century palace that has been hosting the talks. (Read more from “Iran Talks Hit Final Stage but Deal Remains Elusive” HERE)

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