Thursday, July 9, 2015

Iran Deal Would Prove American Independence

You have to hand it to John Kerry in one regard: despite literally having a leg broken (it wasn't a bike accident) he's still out there trying to cut a deal with Iran, God bless him! Somebody tried to get him out of the way and send a message because he thought he could, you know, save the empire by averting a few wars being pushed by the Zionist neo-con Cold War clique that controls U.S foreign policy.

"John Kerry back at home, but not for very long; Sees ‘tough’ Iran talks ahead, with grounds for hope, but risk of failure" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  June 14, 2015

Secretary of State John F. Kerry, on his first full day home after surgery on his broken femur, said he is eager to return to one of the biggest diplomatic challenges facing the Obama administration: negotiating a nuclear arms deal with Iran.

In an exclusive interview with the Globe — the first he’s conducted since his bike accident in France two weeks ago caused him to cut short a European trip — Kerry sat in the living room of his Beacon Hill home, physically worn from his stay at Massachusetts General Hospital but emotionally upbeat.

Kerry said he was determined to get back into the fray of diplomacy and not allow his bicycling mishap in the French Alps — which he called a fluke accident at a very low speed — to disrupt his leadership of American foreign policy.

“We’re working on an unbelievable number of things,” he said, between sipping Gatorade and petting his panting dog, Ben. “We have a lot going on. A lot going on.”

He was already at it earlier Saturday, meeting with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is assisting in the Iran talks. And, crutches at hand, he may leave for Washington this week to prepare for a series of upcoming meetings with the Chinese, and is expected to travel to Europe toward the end of the month for what he hopes are the final round of negotiations with Iran. The doctor who performed the June 2 surgery said on Friday that it would take several months of physical therapy before Kerry has fully recovered.

The disarmament negotiations with Iran have been one of the thorniest and highest-profile undertakings of Kerry’s career, and in many ways have featured two of his well-known traits — vast stamina and a frenetic pace. The talks are nearing their end phase, with critics aplenty in Washington and multiple hurdles remaining, including disagreements over how and when sanctions should be lifted in exchange for Iran agreeing to restrict its nuclear capabilities.

“You know, some things have gotten hard. Some things are progressing,” he said when asked whether negotiations had stalled. “It’s hard. It’s a hard negotiation. We haven’t talked to each other in 35 years. There’s huge suspicion. And huge stakes.”

When asked whether he was optimistic, he said, “I’ve never said optimistic. I’ve always said hopeful. I’m hopeful.

“Could we get an agreement? For sure,” he continued. “Could it fail? Yes.”

The delicate negotiations were further complicated two weeks ago when a curb got in Kerry’s way.

The nation’s chief diplomat had a few free hours and was preparing to set out on a 90-minute bicycle ride along a grueling uphill route that has been used in the Tour de France. He had heard that morning that Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau had died of brain cancer, so Kerry was making final edits on his message of condolence, using the roof of a nearby car as a brace, before giving it to an aide to put out the statement.

The next president going to keep him around?

Then, he hopped on his bike and began to ride. He got distracted by motorcycles that sped off ahead of him.

“I’m just navigating my way at about 2 miles an hour . . . and this curb appears out of nowhere while I’m focused on the motorcycle,” Kerry said. “And the bike just freezes.”

He toppled over, the full force of his fall coming on his thigh and breaking his right femur near one of his two artificial hips. After initial treatment in Switzerland, he flew back a day later to Boston, where he was treated by Dr. Dennis Burke, who previously performed replacement surgery on both of Kerry’s hips.

The accident put Kerry in a hospital bed at a time when he was supposed to be traveling.


The man who has logged nearly 820,000 miles going to 63 countries spent more time in one place these past two weeks than he has almost his entire tenure as secretary of state.

Yeah, thanks for helping out with the greenhouse gas problem. Foreswear the carbon taxes and I'll forget all about it.

After being on narcotics for the first few days, he told his doctors in no uncertain terms that he didn’t like the effects they were having on him.

“All I’m taking is Tylenol,” he said on Saturday. “After I got two or three days in, I said, ‘You’ve got to stop this crap.’ ’’

Kerry said he was determined to keep working from the hospital. He had several secure phone lines set up in his hospital room at MGH, ones that he used to call the president, and hold strategy sessions with the negotiating team in Vienna. He called foreign ministers, and he exchanged e-mails with his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He worked on several speeches, and he began sketching out possible new approaches for dealing with the ongoing turmoil in Syria, where the Islamic State group is starting to take over and expand its reach in the Middle East.

“Syria remains too much of a sieve for the attraction of foreign fighters,” Kerry said. “You need ground troops. It’s not going to be American, so the question is whose are they going to be, and what will America’s role be in helping that?”

But much of the immediate focus is on Iran. If a deal is reached, it could provide momentum for other areas of cooperation in the Middle East. Kerry said he is hopeful an agreement can be attained, but was careful not to express optimism in the face of such a difficult task. 

That is why I'm posting this now. I suspect there will be a Next Day Update to follow, too.

Negotiators announced on April 2 that they had agreed on the broad framework for a final deal, with Iran willing to limit its nuclear stockpile and enrichment capacity. In return, the United States and European Union would lift economic sanctions.

But the details are still being worked out, and there are several unresolved issues. 

Meaning the U.S. is doing everything it can to block it.

Iran wants the sanctions to be released almost as soon as the deal is implemented, for example, while Western negotiators want more time to prove Iran is abiding by the agreement.

Western officials have also pushed for inspectors to have extensive access — including on military bases — to determine that nuclear activities are being curtailed, while Tehran is pushing back and wants military sites to be off-limits.

 Sorry I'm so sour on all this war propaganda.

Kerry said that Iran was “looking to put an angle on some of those things that was not, in our judgment, understood or part of the deal,” but he declined to elaborate. 

Yeah, it's always the other guys fault.,

The United States has set a deadline of June 30 for the talks with Iran to be completed. Kerry said if progress is made, he would be willing to go over the deadline by days but not weeks. “If you don’t get this done on the schedule, then mischief-makers step in everywhere,” Kerry said. “You have plenty of folks in Iran who would love to not see the deal, hard-liners. . . . You have people here in the United States who don’t want the deal.”

If a deal is reached, Congress will have at least 30 days to review the agreement before President Obama can begin lifting sanctions on Iran. Congress could disapprove of the deal and try to prevent Obama from lifting the sanctions, but it would need a two-thirds majority to override an expected presidential veto.

“I know sometimes people lob political grenade suggesting there’s not a strategy and this and that,” Kerry said. “I can’t think of a time in history where America’s leadership has been more critical to as many different issues simultaneously as right now.”

He also defended the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq.

“You know, Baghdad would have been under siege if the United States hadn’t intervened,” Kerry said. “The president decided to use air power and then train people. Now we are reclaiming territory. there will be, hopefully progress. It’s a tough slog.”

How Rumsfeldian.

Kerry is doing physical therapy, and trying to put more weight on his leg. And eventually, he said, he will bike again.

“Yeah, absolutely. Are you kidding?” he said. “I’m just going to make sure I never take my eye — I’m not going to look at the motorcycle instead of what’s right in front of me.” 

Yeah, okay.


"Kerry launches bid to complete accord with Iran; Officials doubtful on reaching deal by Tuesday target" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  June 28, 2015

VIENNA —Negotiators are working against a self-imposed June 30 deadline, one that most believe may not be met given some of the major issues still to be resolved. All sides appear comfortable missing the deadline by a few days, but few want to postpone the talks much longer.

As soon as one issue is solved, another emerges. “It is like whack-a-mole,” said one senior administration official.

If a deal is reached before July 9, Congress would have 30 days to review the proposal. If it comes after that date, then the review period expands to 60 days. Given the likely opposition to the plan, US negotiators are trying to do everything possible to come to a deal before July 9.

Secretary of State John Kerry left on Friday morning for his first trip abroad since he broke his leg four weeks ago during a bicycle accident in France. He is traveling with a State Department doctor and a physical therapist, and had to use a medical lift to board and deplane the aircraft.

The constant reminder is a subtle clue.


Kerry is “hopeful,” and then his State Department puts out this:

Iran faulted on human rights

As if the spying, torturing, mass-murdering empire had any standing on such issues.

"On Thursday, the US State Department released its annual report on the protection of human rights around the world, and at least judging by its treatment of Egypt, American Secretary of State John Kerry could benefit from some face time with a Christian named Nabil Soliman."

Egypt is a linchpin of empire and a firm ally, and thus criticism is absent.

"US report finds Iran threat undiminished; State Dept. says nuclear talks had little influence" by Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt New York Times  June 20, 2015

WASHINGTON — Iran continued its “terrorist-related” activity last year and also continued to provide broad military support to President Bashar Assad of Syria, the State Department said Friday in its annual report on terrorism.

WTF, John?!!!

The State Department’s assessment suggests that neither the election of President Hassan Rouhani nor the prospect of a nuclear accord with the United States and its negotiating partners has had a moderating effect on Iran’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

“In 2014, Iran continued to provide arms, financing, training, and the facilitation of primary Iraq Shia and Afghan fighters to support the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown,” the report said.

While the US and its allies helped ISIS™.

“Iran remained unwilling to bring to justice senior Al Qaeda members it continued to detain and refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody,” it added.

I'm sorry. It's just going in one ear and out the other these days, what this US government says.

The report does not contend that Iranian officials are conspiring to kill Americans. Nor does it accuse Iraqi militias backed by Iran of plotting to attack US advisers in Iraq. The report also does not provide specific figures on Iranian operations, which might indicate whether they are increasing or decreasing.

But it paints a picture of an aggressive Iranian foreign policy that has often been contrary to the interests of the United States.

At the same time he's trying to get a deal done. 

Even when the United States and Iran share a common foe, as they do in the Islamic State, the Iranian role in Iraq risks inflaming sectarian tensions. Some of the Shia militias Iran has backed in Iraq, including Kataib Hezbollah, have committed human rights abuses against Sunni civilians, the report said.

Well, sort of.

Although the report covers 2014, US officials said that the Iranian policies described in the report have continued this year.


The White House has held out hope that a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program might be the first step toward an eventual easing of tensions and perhaps even cooperation on regional matters. But even if the two sides remain at odds over the Middle East, Obama administration officials insist a nuclear accord is worth pursuing in its own right. The report comes a week before Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to travel to Vienna to try to seal a nuclear accord.

In a broad survey of terrorist trends, including a country-by-country assessment, the report notes that the threat from the Qaeda leadership that has sought sanctuary in Pakistan has diminished even as the group continues to inspire militants elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the threat from the Islamic State, the militant group that has established a self-styled caliphate in much of Iraq and Syria, has grown.

Told winning, winning, winning, then not.

The report said that as of December, the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, could muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters. The group derives most of its funding not from external donations, but from smuggling oil, kidnapping for ransom, robbing banks, and selling stolen antiquities.

Told destroying them!

The number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria — more than 16,000 as of late December and thousands more since — is greater than the number of foreign militants who have gone to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years, the report said.

“The ongoing civil war in Syria was a significant factor in driving worldwide terrorism events in 2014,” the report states.

The report also noted that the Islamic State has deftly used the news media and social media to influence a wide spectrum of potential audiences: local Sunni Arab populations, potential recruits, and governments of coalition members and other populations around the world, including English-speaking audiences.

“ISIL has been adroit at using the most popular social and new media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) to disseminate its messages broadly,” the report concluded.

Yeah, right, gonna have to shut off that Internet because of the "terrorists" -- only because they don't have a propaganda pre$$.

US counterterrorism officials have voiced increasing concern that the Islamic State as well as Al Qaeda and its affiliates are inspiring, but not necessarily directing, a greater number of so-called “lone wolf attacks” — like the terrorist attacks in Ottawa and Sydney last year. 

More false flag fakes if not fictions!!


Related: Little progress on Iran nuclear pact.... Obstacles to a pact remain beyond the public debate, a lack of headway on all issues, ‘‘rate of progress . . . is progressively slowing down.’’

Iran moves to thwart foreign inspectors’ access

Tough bargaining ahead, Iran aide says

Iran’s ayatollah puts demands on nuclear talks; Itemized limits may complicate negotiations" by George Jahn Associated Press  June 25, 2015

My print copy is by Carol Morello of the Washington Post, and this got scrubbed from the article and web -- all except Khamenei's red lines(!!):

"Meanwhile, five former members of President Obama's inner circle of Iran advisers have written an open letter expressing concern that the pending accord to stem Iran's nuclear program "may fall short of meeting the administrations own standard of a 'good' agreement" and laying out a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to for them to support a final deal.

What gall!

Several of the senior officials said the letter was prompted by concern that Obama's negotiators were headed toward concessions that would weaken international inspection of Iran's facilities, back away from forcing Tehran to reveal its suspected past work on weapons, and allow Iranian research and development that would put it on a course to resume intensive production of nuclear fuel as soon as the accord expires.

This stinks of Israel!

The very public nature of the announcement by some of Obama's best-known former advisers adds to the challenge facing Kerry."

Never found out who they were, but I did receive confirmation of the source:

Natural Gas Plays Central Role in John Kerry’s Energy Plan; He Held $1 Million in Noble Energy Stock

They wouldn't be going after him otherwise.

At least he's getting help:

"Kerry, energy secretary teaming up in Iran talks" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  June 29, 2015

VIENNA — Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz spotted John Kerry as the secretary of state emerged from a creperie in Switzerland. Kerry thrust his arms upward, as if someone had just scored a goal. Moniz slapped him a vigorous double high-five.

Astonished news photographers swung their lenses toward the celebration. Could this be a sign of a breakthrough to halt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons?

No. Moniz and Kerry were merely expressing bilateral appreciation for the outstanding crepes served inside.

But the moment did capture the friendly and professional bond that has formed between the two Obama Cabinet officials who are taking the lead on the difficult Iran arms talks, with Kerry spearheading diplomacy and Moniz, a physicist and former MIT professor, assisting on the technical aspects of centrifuges and weapons-grade plutonium.

The two secretaries, whose relationship has roots in Massachusetts and Washington, boarded Kerry’s plane Friday and came to Vienna for what is being billed as the final attempt between the United States and Iran to finish a deal. The elusive goal is to block any attempt by Iran to develop a nuclear weapons program, in exchange for the lifting of Western sanctions.

In interviews, both Kerry and Moniz described how they have been working together for months, establishing an effective team to negotiate with the Iranians. In European hotel suites, while watching Patriots playoff football at Gillette Stadium, and at Kerry’s Beacon Hill home, the two have laid the groundwork for a possible diplomatic victory.

“We’re both Massachusetts kids and we’re both Red Sox fans and Patriots diehards,” Kerry said. They were together for the New England Patriots playoff contest against the Indianapolis Colts, a game that produced the allegations that Tom Brady was probably aware of a scheme to deflate footballs. Kerry said he asked Moniz whether temperature fluctuation could have caused football deflation, and “Ernie clearly confirmed that possibility.”

Honestly, the pimping of Kerry and Moniz as some sort of one-two punch while “the supreme leader cites red lines,” and they concede that negotiators would probably go past their self-imposed Tuesday deadline.


In a recent interview, Kerry declined to comment on whether the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian would be a part of any deal — or whether he would agree to a deal with Iran if Rezaian is not released.

Why drag him into this? Unless you are casting about for any reason to scuttle the deal?

“I never have a discussion with them where I don’t raise the issue of Americans in Iran,” he said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

If a deal is reached, Congress would have 30 days to review it before President Obama could begin lifting sanctions on Iran. But if a deal is not reached by July 9, Congress would have 60 days to review it, and Kerry has expressed concern over extending the deadline, saying in an interview that “mischief makers [would] step in everywhere.”

Kerry remains limited by his broken femur, making it harder to escape on midday strolls in search of local fare.

Just a reminder of what they can, you know, do to you. Gave you a warning. Hope that plane is in good shape.

“We’ve certainly had a lot of food together. And I have to say, I’m very impressed with John’s caloric intake while maintaining such a fantastic physical condition,” Moniz said....


Now they bring his mom into it?

"Jailed reporter’s mother speaks while son is in Iran court" Associated Press  June 09, 2015

TEHRAN — Details of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian’s second court hearing were vague in Iranian media....

Rezaian faces charges including espionage and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, which the Post has said carry 10 to 20 years in prison if he is convicted. US officials, the Post, and rights groups have strongly criticized Rezaian’s trial, demanding he be freed.

Rezaian’s detention of more than 300 days and his trial come as Iran negotiates with world powers over its contested nuclear program, leading many, including his mother, Mary, to suggest current events may play a role in his case.

‘‘Someone believes that there is an advantage to holding him,’’ Mary Rezaian said outside her son’s hearing at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. ‘‘Personally, I do not think so.’’

Standing next to Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, Mary Rezaian said her son is ‘‘very tired, very distressed.’’ She also said she did not know how many more court hearings will be held or how the trial is going. Neither she nor Rezaian’s wife has been allowed to attend the hearings, although Mary Rezaian has seen him twice briefly since she arrived in Iran a month ago.

‘‘He is being accused of being a master spy when all he was doing was reporting on a country that he loves. So it is very hard for him. Very, very hard for him. And of course he misses his wife,’’ Mary Rezaian said. ‘‘So two years they have been married, one year he has been in prison. It is a very, very difficult thing.’’

He worked for what paper?

They are mocking us with this.

I suppose now is not the time to mention U.S. renditions, torture, and indefinite detentions at Gitmo.

Salehi declined to discuss her husband’s trial, only saying: ‘‘I am not in a good state.’’

Rezaian, his wife, and two photojournalists were detained July 22, 2014, in Tehran. All were released except Rezaian.


Back to the negotiations:

"Citing progress, US may extend Iran nuclear talks" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  June 29, 2015

VIENNA — US and Iranian negotiators were poised to blow through another self-imposed deadline Tuesday in their prolonged talks to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program. But US officials contend enough progress has been made to keep meeting, despite increasing pressure from critics at home and abroad to walk away.

“We’re just working,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday morning at the start of a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “And it’s too early to make any judgments.”

After 20 months of inching forward on a negotiating path, a senior administration official said later that a deal could be within reach.

The latest extension in the talks will be measured in days, not weeks, the official said. There is no talk of backing away from the table, the official added.

“We do see a path forward,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations. “We still do not know yet whether we will be able to get there.’’

Seated around a long table with ample water and juice before each participant, the negotiating teams inside the Palais Coburg have been trying to solve a series of issues that are all the more complicated because it’s been decades since the United States and Iran have had a diplomatic relationship.

For Kerry, whose 2½-year tenure has been marked by energetic efforts on multiple global problems but no firm victories, signing an agreement with Iran would be a signature achievement. But even then, he would have to convince critics in Congress and around the globe who are wary of any deal with Iran.

Amid increasing criticism in Congress and by hardliners in Israel and elsewhere that Kerry is negotiating a bad deal, the senior administration official responded it would be “absurd” for the United States to make concessions now just to lock in a deal.

That's why I want a deal. F*** them!

“If we were going to cave, I could be home already and I’d be a really happy person. We would have done that a long time ago,” the official said. “Why would we put ourselves through this?”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who broke away from the talks and flew back to Tehran on Sunday, is planning to arrive back in Vienna on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia is also expected to arrive in Vienna.

Negotiators initially came to terms on the framework for a deal on April 2, and at the time they set a June 30 deadline for a final agreement. In broad terms, Iran would agree to limit its nuclear stockpile and enrichment capacity, while the United States and European Union would lift nuclear-related sanctions.

One of the central components of the agreement focuses on extending the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon if they break the deal.

The so-called “breakout time” — the period it would take the country to enrich enough fissile material to make one nuclear bomb — would be extended to about a year. Specialists now estimate it would take two to three months for Iran to build a bomb.

Meaning they don't have one.

To ensure that Iran abides by the parameters, Western negotiators say, international inspectors must have far-reaching access. One sticking point has been whether international inspectors would be allowed into Iranian military sites, where much of its nuclear development is believed to take place. Iran is pushing to bar inspectors from military sites.

Some attention has been placed on how the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based group that conducts the inspections, could gain access to certain sites to determine whether Iran is using its military sites to build a nuclear weapon.

Inspectors could do limited inspections on military bases or study nearby sites where soil samples could indicate nuclear activity.

Another major sticking point is how quickly the economic sanctions would be lifted. Iran has said they want them removed almost as soon as a deal is reached, while western negotiators want to see signs that Iran is abiding by the terms of the agreement before sanctions are removed.

I can't believe that is holding things up. You phase them in, everybody is happy.

What appears to be emerging is a phased approach, where certain sanctions are removed almost simultaneously to Iran falling into compliance. And if Iran does not abide by the terms, the sanctions would snap back into place.

Could be what bloggers are saying, a trap for the Iranians. They are pretty cagey, though. Tough to fool 'em.

Negotiators are now focused on completing the deal before July 9. If Congress does not receive the agreement by then, its time to review a pact doubles — from 30 days to 60 days — giving more time for opponents to mobilize.

Congress could disapprove of the deal and try to prevent Obama from lifting the sanctions, but it would need a two-thirds majority to override an expected veto.

In between meetings on Monday, Kerry had another item on his itinerary that hasn’t been part of previous talks: physical therapy, to help him regain strength after breaking his right femur in a bicycle accident last month.

Just a little reminder that, you know.... if you persist in peddling forward with this....


"Negotiators given extra week to forge Iran deal; Tehran meets crucial milepost on nuclear stock" by Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper Associated Press  July 01, 2015

VIENNA — Pushing past a Tuesday deadline, world powers and Iran extended negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement by a week as the UN nuclear agency prepared to announce Tehran had met a key condition — significantly reducing its stocks of enriched uranium that could be used for atomic weapons.

What a clever move!

Iran’s failure to comply would have severely undermined the negotiations, which are aimed at curbing the Iranians’ nuclear program for a decade in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in relief from international economic sanctions.

The State Department announced the extra days of talks only hours before the expiration of the target date for their completion. Thoughts of meeting the deadline had been long-abandoned, but the extension has added significance as it holds in place nuclear restrictions that Iran agreed to 20 months ago as well as slightly eased conditions for Iranian business with the world.

Those preliminary measures have been prolonged to next Tuesday ‘‘to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution,’’ spokeswoman Marie Harf said. The statement came after Secretary of State John Kerry held a day of meetings in Vienna with the foreign ministers of Iran and Russia and other key officials.

The day originally had been envisioned as the culmination of almost two years of secret and then public negotiations aimed at assuring the world Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons and providing the Iranian people a path out of their international isolation. But officials said over the weekend they were nowhere near a final accord, and Iran’s foreign minister had flown back to his capital for further consultations amid increased signs of backtracking by his country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In Washington, President Obama said Tuesday that there will be no nuclear deal with Iran if inspections and verification requirements are inadequate.

‘‘I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal,’’ Obama said during a news conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Obama said it’s still unclear whether Tehran can meet the commitments made in a preliminary deal struck in Switzerland in April.

‘‘There has been a lot of talk on the other side from the Iranian negotiators about whether in fact they can abide by some of the terms that came up in Lausanne,’’ Obama said. ‘‘If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem.’’

As for Iran’s reduction in its stockpile of enriched uranium, diplomats said the country had removed a potential hurdle that nuclear experts had been watching closely.

Uranium can be used to generate energy or as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, depending on its enrichment level. Under the preliminary deal from November 2013, Iran agreed to cap its stockpile of lower-enriched uranium at a little more than 7.6 tons and transform any remainder into a form that would be difficult to reconvert for arms use.

The enrichment percent has to go from 20 to 95.

Although amounts were permitted to fluctuate, Iran had to come under the cap by Tuesday. As of a month ago, the UN nuclear agency reported the stockpile at more than 8 tons.

Iran’s compliance will be officially made public Wednesday in a report by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said the diplomats, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the still-confidential report and demanded anonymity.

The weeklong extension has political overtones as well. An agreement by July 7 would give the Obama administration time to submit the deal to Congress by July 9. Congress would then have 30 days to review it, during which time President Obama would not be able to ease sanctions.

If negotiations drag on past July 9 without a deal, that congressional review period would extend to 60 days. If lawmakers were to build a veto-proof majority behind new legislation enacting new economic sanctions or preventing Obama from suspending existing ones, the administration would be prevented from living up to an accord.

Significant disagreements persist, not least over the level of inspections on Iranian sites, how quickly the West would roll back sanctions, and what types of research and development Iran would be permitted to conduct on advanced nuclear technology.

Only here in AmeriKa. The rest of the world is ready to move on without them.


"UN nuclear report confirms Iran met key commitment; Difficult issues remain in talks, Kerry contends" by George Jahn and Matthew Lee Associated Press  July 02, 2015

VIENNA — Iran has met a key commitment under a preliminary nuclear deal setting up the current talks on a final agreement, leaving it with several tons less of the material it could use to make weapons, according to a UN report issued Wednesday.

Obtained by the Associated Press, the confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report said more than four tons of the enriched uranium had been fed into a pipeline that ends with conversion of it into oxide, which is much less likely to be used to make nuclear arms.

The report indicated that only several hundred pounds of the oxide had been made. But a US official said the rest of the enriched uranium in the pipeline has been transformed into another form of the oxide that would be even more difficult to reconvert into enriched uranium, which can be turned into the fissile core of nuclear arms.

The official said that technical problems by Iran had slowed the process but the United States was satisfied the nation had met its commitments to reduce the amount of enriched uranium it has stored. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the review process.

The concession is an important benchmark as the talks go into the final stage of talks on an agreement meant to put long-term caps on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief of economic penalties.

Violations by Iran would complicate the Obama administration’s argument that US negotiators are holding the line on demands for a verifiable deal. US and Western nations seek to extend the time Iran would need to make a weapon to at least a year. Tehran says its nuclear program is meant only to fuel reactors and for other non-military purposes.

It is, but the war pre$$ prints it and starts drumming again.

The report did not say where the rest of the material was. But it appeared to confirm the US official’s description of the material being somewhere in the conversion line. That’s because the figures provided by the IAEA indicated it was not added to Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

Low-enriched uranium can be enriched further for weapons purposes. The interim accord capped Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile at 7.6 tons. If it went over that limit, it would have to convert the remainder into oxide.

The IAEA report said that stockpile was just under that level as of Tuesday.

The report was circulated among the 35-nation IAEA board and the UN Security Council as the IAEA chief left for Tehran to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Secretary of State John Kerry met again in Vienna with Iran’s foreign minister.

In his talks in Tehran on Thursday, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano hopes to ‘‘accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, including clarification of possible military dimensions,’’ the Vienna-based agency said in a statement. Iran’s Mehr news agency said Amano will ‘‘receive Iran’s alternative proposal’’ to the proposed questioning of its nuclear scientists, proposed interrogations that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected.

An IAEA probe of allegations that Iran worked secretly on nuclear arms has been stalled for nearly a decade, with Iran dismissing them as phony evidence planted by the United States and Israel.

It was.

Kerry’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was the first since world powers agreed to extend the talks until July 7.

‘‘We will continue and we will make progress,’’ Zarif said. ‘‘We have made progress and we will make progress and we will use every opportunity to make progress.’’

Kerry also spoke of progress despite ‘‘some very difficult issues.’’

The June 30 deadline originally had been envisioned as the culmination of nearly a decade of diplomacy aimed at assuring the world Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons and at providing the Iranian people a path out of their international isolation.

But officials said over the weekend they were nowhere near a final accord.

In Washington, President Obama said there will be no nuclear deal with Iran if inspections and verification requirements are inadequate.

That's that then.


Related: Iran shows signs of compromise on nuclear inspections" by David E. Sanger and Michael R. Gordon New York Times  July 02, 2015

That's odd; my print copy carried the headline Iran resists key demand in negotiations on nuclear pact," and I suppose the switch was made because "Iran questioned the legitimacy of countries that don't accept the International Atomic Energy Agency's jurisdiction demanding that Iran be subject to tougher requirements than any other nation. RIA-Novosti reported that Russia also backed Iran's position that additional inspection guidelines. The official was making a clear reference to Israel, a state widely presumed to maintain an undeclared nuclear arsenal. But the [issue] will be a cause of concern for the Obama administration and some of its negotiating partners."

Yeah, never a mention about the only Middle Eastern state that actually has nuclear arms. 

No mention of Yemen in the negotiations, either.

"Iran minister calls for end to ‘coercion’ in talks" by George Jahn and Matthew Lee Associated Press  July 04, 2015

VIENNA — In a message to Washington, Iran’s foreign minister on Friday called for an end to ‘‘coercion and pressure’’ at the nuclear talks, suggesting a deal acceptable to his country will open the door to cooperation on fighting the upsurge of Middle East extremism threatening both nations’ interests.

Mohammad Javad Zarif did not mention the United States by name in his video message. But with the Iran six-power talks having devolved essentially into bilateral US-Iran negotiations over the past year, his comments were clearly directed at the Americans, who have been the primary drivers of the crippling economic sanctions imposed on his country over its nuclear program.

Any deal would result in an end to the sanctions. But negotiations remain bogged down ahead of the extended July 7 target date for an agreement.

The West fears Iran could develop its nuclear program to make weapons, while Iran insists it is only meant to generate power and for other peaceful uses. Suggesting that Islamist extremism is a far greater threat to the world than his country’s atomic activities, Zarif called for an end to ‘‘unjust economic sanctions’’ and for the West to join Iran in common cause against ‘‘the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism.’’

‘‘The menace we’re facing — and I say we, because no one is spared — is embodied by the hooded men who are ravaging the cradle of civilization,’’ Zarif said. He called for realignment from Iran’s nuclear activities, saying it was time to ‘‘open new horizons to address important, common challenges.’’

Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry have taken the lead in the negotiations. In comments echoed by Zarif ahead of their renewed meeting on Friday evening, Kerry said the talks ‘‘are making progress.’’ But he also spoke of ‘‘some tough issues,’’ telling reporters, ‘‘We have a lot of work to do.’’

The Obama administration says that at least part of the sanctions relief for Iran under any pact will depend on Iran’s full cooperation with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to probe allegations that Tehran worked secretly on atomic weapons. But hopes of progress any time soon on that issue dimmed Friday.

Mine really hadn't lit up. You see how hard they are working to kill this thing.

Yukiya Amano, head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, said his meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani resulted in a ‘‘better understanding on some ways forward,’’ but that ‘‘more work will be needed.’’ The formulation of his statement was similar to previous ones issued by the IAEA, which has struggled for nearly a decade to resolve its concerns.

Amano’s trip Thursday to Tehran was significant because it represented his last chance to secure access and cooperation before the July 7 target date.

Rouhani also provided no hint of substantial progress. Iran has previously acknowledged some activities like experiments with detonators, but says those activities had no connection to exploding a nuclear device and were instead developed for industrial purposes.

Repeating the standard Iranian line, Rouhani said after meeting Amano that the agency now understands the ‘‘pointless allegations’’ are ‘‘baseless.’’

The issue was put on the IAEA front burner four years ago when the agency published an annex of 12 alleged activities it said pointed to nuclear weapons research and development by Iran.

A US intelligence assessment published in 2007 raised similar allegations, but said the work ended early last decade. Iran says the suspicions are based on doctored intelligence from Israel, the United States, and other adversaries.

Oh, no, they never do that (blog editor's eyes roll toward ceiling as he turns head away).

Amano said he discussed his agency’s monitoring of Iran’s commitments under any deal. Backed by the United States, the agency seeks pervasive oversight to ensure Tehran doesn’t cheat.

But Iran rejects any extraordinary inspection rules.

Yup, Iran rejected the deal. Nothing left to do but bomb, right?

Speaking to reporters in Austria’s capital Thursday, a senior Iranian official said the IAEA’s standard rules governing access to government information, sites of interest, and scientists should be sufficient to ensure that his country’s program is peaceful.

Iran has committed to implementing the IAEA’s ‘‘additional protocol’’ for inspections and monitoring as part of an accord. The protocol gives the IAEA expanded access to declared and potentially undeclared nuclear sites, and to the sensitive information of the more than 120 governments that accept its provisions.

Still not good enough.

But the rules don’t guarantee monitors can enter any facility they want to and offer no specific guidance about sensitive military sites. 

I suppose you can always find something.


So when do the U.N. inspectors search Israel and the U.S.? What do you mean they are blocked from doing so?

"UN nuclear chief is optimistic about Iranian cooperation on review" by George Jahn and Bradley Klapper Associated Press  July 04, 2015

VIENNA — Negotiators are striving to wrap up the deal by Tuesday.

Also Saturday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that, with Iranian cooperation, his agency could complete an assessment on the nation’s suspected past nuclear work by December, potentially removing another major obstacle to an agreement.

With his statement, Yukiya Amano, director general of the agency, appeared to be signaling that a preliminary investigation into the “possible military dimensions’’ of Iran’s past nuclear work could happen on an expedited basis, a schedule that could facilitate the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

He made the statement a day after returning to Vienna from Tehran, where he met with President Hassan Rouhani and other top officials.

“With the cooperation from Iran, I think we can issue a report by the end of the year on the assessment of the clarification of the issues related to possible military dimensions,” said Amano, a cautious diplomat who weighs his words carefully. “We have made progress on the way forward.”


In 2011, the agency published a list of a dozen questions, but it has barely made a dent in answering them. Iran has contended that the documents the agency is relying on are fabrications, provided by the United States and Israel, and has declined to cooperate with the IAEA inquiry.

It is doubtful that the agency can fully resolve those issues by the end of the year. But US officials have been suggesting that if agency inspectors can get access to Iranian scientists, documents, and some sites to resolve suspicions, the sanctions could begin to lift even before the agency reaches its final conclusions.

The nuclear talks have moved into high gear with negotiators trying to reach an agreement by Tuesday. If they hit that target date, the agreement could be submitted to Congress by Thursday, limiting the congressional review period to 30 days.


"As Iran talks near a close, Kerry says deal still up in the air" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  July 06, 2015

VIENNA — For Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has spent years laying the groundwork to secure what he views as a game-changing deal with Iran, the next several days will be crucial as he tries to move tense, slow-paced negotiations toward a historic agreement.

The United States and five other world powers have made strides toward a deal that would curb Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon in return for lifting economic sanctions. But as talks entered a critical stage after nine days of marathon negotiations, Kerry warned Sunday afternoon that the whole thing could still collapse.

Crossed fingers that  “At this point, could go either way, and . . . prepared to walk away.”

The deal would be one of the signature accomplishments of Kerry’s long career, coming nearly four years after he quietly laid the foundation for new talks with Iran while he was still representing Massachusetts in the Senate.

As negotiations stretched into Sunday night, US officials were preparing for a variety of scenarios, including failure. But significant progress has been made in recent days on some of the thorniest aspects.

Negotiators are eager to complete the deal by Thursday.

“I think he wants a deal with Iran too badly,” Senator Lindsey Graham said in a recent interview. “I would have walked away a long time ago.”

Says President Goebells.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel posted several messages on Twitter Sunday, saying the talks “have yielded a collapse, not a breakthrough. The major powers’ concessions are increasing.”

This weekend was spent in a flurry of meetings, interrupted only briefly as the US team paused to celebrate Independence Day.

Prove it. Make the deal!

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz [and] his counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi — who share strong ties to MIT, where Salehi earned his PhD and Moniz taught — have become so close that Moniz has occasionally joined Salehi in the Iranian dining room for dessert or, as on Friday night, a dinner of kabobs and a Persian stew called fesenjan.

One of the most difficult issues to resolve has been how and when to relieve sanctions that would pump tens of billions of dollars into the Iranian economy.

Iran wants the sanctions lifted immediately, while the United States has insisted that Iran prove it is abiding by the deal first. What appears to be emerging is a phased approach in which the process for lifting sanctions begins at the same time as Iran begins complying with new restrictions on its nuclear program.

Another key development occurred Friday when the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he would be able to complete a report by the end of the year on past allegations that Iran has sought to develop a nuclear weapon.

Iran contends that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, but international inspectors have said they need broad access and cooperation to verify that.

“They are down to implementation details that can be resolved,” said Daryl G. Kimball executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington think tank. “The fundamental issues have been addressed.”

“In the end, this agreement will — and I’m moving from ‘would’ to ‘will’ — be a really historic breakthrough,” he added.

So he has it signed already?

The talks are a result of a long process of incremental engagement that began with personal outreach by Kerry 3½ years ago.

In a trip coordinated with the White House and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kerry traveled to Oman in December 2011 to begin the initial steps to open a dialogue with Iran.

In a bit of irony, when Kerry traveled to Muscat to open that back channel he had two black eyes and a broken nose, from an ice hockey game days before. Now, as he attempts to close the Iran agreement that grew out of that effort, he has been hobbling around with a broken right femur from a bicycle accident.

Kerry is making time for at least one session of physical therapy in his hotel room each day, and he’s now wearing sneakers instead of dress shoes. He’s also been stir crazy at times, trying to escape to nearby parks simply to sit in the sun.

The deal has been all the more complex because it involves six world superpowers on one side of the table — the United States is joined by Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — and just Iran on the other. At times it has been difficult to keep a unified front and Iran has used that to its advantage.

“Many people at home and abroad believe he’s been overeager for a deal,” said Robert Einhorn, a former State Department nonproliferation official who served on the US negotiating team with Iran in the past. Einhorn, who has expressed concern with some aspects of the deal, said he thinks Kerry has “kept a clear view of what his requirements were. And he’s fought very hard for those requirements. If they’re in fact met, he will deserve a lot of the credit.”

He will get it from me, and no savagery from the war media will dim it. And God forbid anything else bad happen to the man.

But just a few hours before Kerry went into his fourth session of the day with Zarif on Sunday night, he sought to lower expectations....


"Iran revives UN embargo debate as nuclear talks near end; US, European partners oppose effort to lift ban" by David E. Sanger New York Times   July 07, 2015

VIENNA — With foreign ministers from around the world arriving here in hopes that the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are entering their final hours, a senior Iranian official said Monday Tehran was demanding all UN sanctions against his country — including the ban on the import or export of conventional arms — be lifted as part of any deal.

The issue is not a new one; it has been bubbling beneath the surface as larger arguments over the timing of sanctions relief and the kind of research and development Iran will be able to conduct have dominated the negotiations.

And it just sprung to the surface just as talk where in their final hours. Wow.

But as the haggling has come down to the final issues, most requiring political decisions instead of technical ones, the arms embargo issue has begun to take on larger meaning.

US officials and their European partners in the talks — France, Germany, and Britain — have opposed lifting the embargoes, arguing that it will only fuel the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, as well as Yemen and Lebanon, as Iran accelerates its arming of Shi’ite militias.

This as they fuel the conflicts by aiding the rebels, arming ISIS™, etc.

Russia and China, both permanent members of the UN Security Council and both sellers of arms to Iran, have been quietly pressing for a lifting of the ban, US officials say.

It's about crimping their arms sales even as the U.S. has 75% of the market.

“I think the Iranians see an opportunity here to break the solidarity of their negotiating opponents,” said one European negotiator who asked not to be named because the talks were continuing. “They are very good at this.”

Try putting the shoe on the other foot.

Secretary of State John Kerry and a team of negotiators have been pushing for an agreement to be concluded by Tuesday, or at the latest Wednesday, so that they can convey a final accord to Congress by Thursday. If an agreement is reached later in the summer, the congressional review period would double, from 30 days to 60, because of the long summer recess on Capitol Hill.

Still waiting. 

The Obama administration wants to limit the period of congressional review, with all the opportunities that creates for debate about any accord. The Iranians, understanding the pressure of the calendar, have been using the deadline to press for a fast resolution, hoping they will gain more concessions.

“We don’t see a definitive deadline for our work here,” the Iranian official said in briefing reporters, on the condition of anonymity to discuss negotiations. “If we pass July 9, this may not be the end of the world.” Paraphrasing Kerry’s public statement Sunday, he said, “We need to have a good agreement,” even if it takes more time.


The arms embargoes create a particularly complex issue for the United States and its partners, for while they were passed as part of sanctions against the nuclear program, they had a larger purpose.

“There were many problems with Iran when we constructed these sanctions,” R. Nicholas Burns, the former undersecretary of state for political affairs, who pressed the embargoes through the Security Council during the Bush administration, said in a phone interview.

Burns, now at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is a strong supporter of a diplomatic deal with Iran on the nuclear program. That said, he added of the arms embargo, “I don’t think it’s in our interest to lift it all.”

He also is (or was) a Globe columnist!


"Another deadline missed in Iran negotiations; Good deal more important than time limit, US says" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  July 07, 2015

VIENNA — The United States and other world powers blew past yet another self-imposed deadline Tuesday, holding out hope of solving a “Rubik’s Cube” of issues hampering the agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal.

They just want nuclear power, but don't let that get in the way of the narrative.

As several other foreign ministers departed the 19th-century palace where negotiations have been taking place, Secretary of State John Kerry remained in Vienna to continue meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, attempting to finalize a pact to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity in return for lifting economic sanctions. The latest deadline for a pact is Friday.

The U.S. is now “more concerned about the quality of the deal than about the clock.”


Kerry, who arrived here 12 days ago, is already under pressure from members of Congress who fear he is acquiescing to Iran. If a deal is not provided to Congress by Thursday, its review period doubles from 30 days to 60 days, giving opponents in the Capitol more time to mobilize.

“The Obama administration’s decision to extend nuclear talks with Iran for the second time in one week is just another sign that it is time for President Obama to walk away from the table,” Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is running for president, said in a statement. “The stakes are too high for this diplomatic charade to continue.”

Related: Rubio's Retreats 

Iran isn't one of them. He's charging full-speed ahead in hopes of gaining Zionist approval.

The latest extension in the talks came after negotiators held meetings that lasted late into the night Monday. They resumed Tuesday morning, with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States holding two meetings without Iran.

But when the second meeting concluded, it became clear no deal was imminent. A temporary agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear program is being extended until Friday to allow more time to negotiate.

Kerry on Sunday said the negotiations were entering the final phase and “could go either way.” He also said that “if there’s absolute intransigence . . . we’ll be prepared to walk away.”

But senior US officials said there has been enough movement to keep them at the negotiating table for several more days, although they stress that the talks could still fall apart. 

I'm almost expecting them to now.

“It is really a sense of you always get to a place where you’re at a precipice,” said a senior US official, who briefed reporters on the condition of not being named. “You’re either going to pull back from the precipice, or you’re going to go over the cliff.”


That's an odd way to describe something positive.

Negotiators say progress has been made on several key components, including sanctions relief for Iran and an investigation into its past efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

But one sticking point that has emerged is Iran’s push to lift a United Nations arms embargo, something that the United States has adamantly opposed. That issue could be dealt with as part of a UN security resolution that is being drafted to address sanctions issues.

Good. We are down to ONE disagreement. Should be easy to solve, especially considering all the military hardware the U.S. gives to Israel.

Iran also has seen little reason not to extend the deadline, which is more important to US negotiators who are trying to provide an agreement that will satisfy impatient members of Congress.

“We don’t see a definitive deadline for our work here,” an Iranian official said Monday, according to a transcript of a briefing with reporters. “If we pass July 9, this may not be the end of the world.”

Compare that with the senior US official saying we are on the edge of a precipice.

US negotiators said they left some of the hardest decisions until last, hoping the weight of the other work that had been done would make it difficult for all sides to walk away. But it means some of the most complex aspects are holding up the agreement — and could scuttle the deal altogether.

“This is a Rubik’s Cube. Until the last piece clicks in, you don’t know if you can get there,” the senior Obama administration official said. ”You can get 90 percent of the way there, 95 and 99 percent of the way there, and you can’t get there in the end. So I don’t know.”

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican from Tennessee who coauthored the legislation with the July 9 deadline, urged Kerry over the weekend to not rush to come to an agreement. And Obama administration officials said Tuesday that they were comfortable with going past the Thursday deadline.

“We welcome additional scrutiny of the deal,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a White House briefing. “If we are able to reach one, we’re confident it will clearly be in our interest, one that clearly shuts down every pathway Iran has to a nuclear weapon.”

The feeling here is it is always better to talk-talk than war-war.


I'm with you, John. 

Time for a break:

"Twizzlers, string cheese, and mixed nuts (in large quantities) fuel Iran nuclear negotiators" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  July 07, 2015

VIENNA — They have yet to put a dent in Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, but Secretary of State John Kerry and his team of experts have racked up impressive numbers for junk food consumed and international miles logged.

One team member calculated they have traveled 400,000 miles — enough to circumnavigate the earth 16 times — during the past 18 months.

Thanks for contributing to the greenhouse gas problem.

Behind all those photo-ops with Kerry and other diplomats in crisp suits and ornate conference rooms is an off-stage operation with the feel of a college dorm room during exam week, complete with all-nighters and off-color jokes.



During idle hours, they have debated who among them would be played by what stars, if any producer for some reason decided to make a movie about how the United States and Iran tried to overcome decades of distrust to craft an agreement limiting Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb.

I'm sure it is already in the works.

Kerry, US delegation members decided, would be played by Ted Danson, while Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz would be portrayed by Javier Bardem (from “No Country for Old Men”). The silver-haired and broken-nosed chief negotiator Wendy Sherman would be played by Meryl Streep (as captured in “The Devil Wears Prada”). And Marie Harf, a senior communications adviser, would be portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.

I only draw that to your attention because the odds must be fantastic considering Kerry's injury. 

So Sherman was also roughed up, huh?

Negotiations, which were delayed yet again on Tuesday and could last until Friday (or longer), have stretched so long that some in the delegation are taking their laundry to places where only German is spoken and only cash accepted. Some planned their wardrobes better.

“Pack a lot of underwear,” Moniz advised a reporter just before the trip.

Day after day, diplomats from seven countries and their extensive staffs have shuffled in and out of the Palais Coburg, a 19th-century palace that has been converted into a hotel. They walk through rooms with red carpet and large ceilings and enter grand rooms filled with flowers as they prepare to discuss some of the world’s weightiest issues.

During breaks, the European Union offers a salad bar and five big chafing trays, with options that include vegetables, fish, and pasta. The Iranian delegation has its own dining room, for both privacy and dietary preferences.

Vienna has been blanketed with stifling heat that has infiltrated the negotiating rooms. Fans and portable air conditioners have been brought in. Diplomats remove jackets and ties, sitting with multiple glasses of water and juice in front of them, as if trying to stay hydrated for a prize fight.

But the talks have dragged on. So long that some in the Iranian delegation had to leave the nearby Marriott hotel the other day after their reservations ran out and new guests were ready to occupy their rooms.

It’s not exactly a hardship post, being forced to spend weeks in one of the world’s grandest cities. But most have experienced very little of Vienna’s culture. The go-to restaurant for the US delegation has been Da Capo Pizzeria, a small Italian eatery with exposed brick and a wood-fired oven. Usually they head there on the last night of a negotiating round, for a celebratory meal.

They’re hoping to do so again, this time to celebrate a final deal. They just don’t know when . . . or even if.


That's all very interesting, but I've had enough Globe junk food.

They must be meeting behind closed doors today.

Kerry signals Iran nuclear deal not likely by Friday

Did you know there was an economic summit in Russia this weekend?

Globe has solution:

"Hold Iran nuclear negotiators to their word" by The Editorial Board   June 26, 2015

Two years ago, the Obama administration set out to achieve a deal that would dismantle key elements of Iran’s nuclear program, freeze uranium enrichment for at least a decade, and beef up international inspections to ensure that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon. That was a deal worth pursuing — and it still is.

But a recent speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei raises serious questions about whether Iran’s ayatollahs will allow a deal like that to go forward. In a televised speech on Tuesday, Khamenei announced that freezing Iran’s program for 10 years is “not acceptable,” that foreigners will not be allowed to inspect Iran’s military sites, and that sanctions must be lifted before Iran meets its own obligations under the agreement. All three of those statements fly in the face of the framework agreement that Iranian negotiators signed in April. They also fly in the face of basic common sense. It’s possible that Khamenei is simply playing hardball in an attempt to squeeze any last drop of advantage in the final week before the self-imposed June 30 deadline. It’s also possible that he believes the United States will accept any deal, no matter how weak or impossible to verify.

If that’s the case, Secretary of State John Kerry should prove him wrong and hold Iranian negotiators to the terms they agreed to. If Iran is allowed to backtrack on its commitments now, it doesn’t bode well for compliance in the future. A vague, unverifiable deal won’t pass muster with the US Congress. If the nuclear deal needs a presidential veto to survive, then it may be too fragile to outlast this administration. That’s not in Iran’s interests, or the interests of the United States. US negotiators should aim for an acceptable deal that meets their standards, even if it means continuing discussions past the June 30 deadline. If the Iranian regime wants to get out from under sanctions, it must honor its commitments. At the end of the day, Iran needs this deal more than we do. Khamenei ought not overplay his hand.


Yup, the onus is all on Iran:

"New measures for Iranian students attending UMass" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  June 30, 2015

The University of Massachusetts Amherst announced Tuesday that it will implement new measures to ensure it does not discriminate against Iranian students while complying with federal sanctions against Iran.

The announcement comes four months after the university said it would no longer admit Iranian graduate students to certain engineering programs. Less than a week later, however, UMass reversed that decision amid a backlash from students and faculty.

The new guidelines governing international student admissions, visa renewals, coursework, and research result from a report written by a 15-member committee appointed in February to address questions that arose from the incident.

The issue at UMass Amherst arose in December 2014, when an Iranian student went home for the holiday then tried to return to the United States and was questioned by federal officials. UMass officials became concerned and decided not to sponsor her return visa. The student, Zahra Khalkhali, is still in Iran.

The campus will continue to accept international students, contingent upon the issuance of student visas by the US State Department, the school said. The report reiterated UMass’s commitment to diversity.

Iranian students Tuesday had mixed reactions to the new measures....

They are tolerating them is about all.


Speaking of Iranians visiting colleges, remember this guy?

"Ex-Iranian vice president arrested" Associated Press  June 09, 2015

TEHRAN — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was known in the West for his harsh rhetoric toward Israel, at one point saying it should be wiped off the map.

That's not exactly what he said; however, mistranslations are common in the AmeriKan pre$$.

Inside Iran, his administration faced a growing chorus of corruption allegations, particularly during its latter years.

President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who succeeded Ahmadinejad in 2013, has repeatedly alleged widespread corruption under the administration of his predecessor.

In January, Iran’s highest court convicted and sentenced former vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi to five years in prison and fined him $300,000.

Abdoreza Davari, a close ally of Ahmadinejad, was quoted by a news website as saying Hamid Baghaei, a former vice president who was Ahmadinejad’s vice president in charge of executive affairs, had not been in contact with Ahmadinejad’s office in recent months."


He was supposed to be the new Hitler drunk with power, remember?


"Kerry remains hopeful on Iran nuclear talks; Adds US will end process if no progress" by Matt Viser Globe Staff  July 09, 2015 

Then he knows all those other countries will go make deals and trade. That's been his selling point on them. If we don't get a deal, we left out (like in Cuba. What, you think this government is doing $uch things out of the goodne$$ of its altrui$tic heart?).

VIENNA — In what could develop into a major setback, a senior Iranian official reportedly accused the United States of walking back on several commitments.

Imagine my surprise (AmeriKa never keeps its word).

Nonetheless, the diplomatic routines have become so repetitive that Kerry earlier Thursday compared the negotiations to the time-stands-still film “Groundhog Day.”

Sigh. Every morning, two hours before starting here, yup.


One remaining snag is over the lifting of an arms embargo. Iran, joined by Russia, has been pushing for the United Nations to lift an embargo on the weapons that Iran can import and export.

While the six nations involved in the talks with Iran — the United States, joined by Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — have generally kept up a united negotiating front, the arms embargo has caused some divisions. The United States and its European partners have adamantly opposed lifting the embargo, while Russia and China, who could benefit through arms sales to Iran, have been more amenable.

U.S. has something like 78% of the market. They don't tell you that. That's why the AmeriKan government created ISIS™ and all the rest and finds "enemies" under every rock. Good way to keep $elf-$erving wars going while hoodwinking the people.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters Thursday that there were no “insurmountable problems” remaining, but he emphasized that Russia supported Iran on one of the last issues.

“We are in favor of lifting the embargo as soon as possible and will support a decision made by Iran’s negotiators,” Lavrov told reporters while briefly at a conference in the Russian city of Ufa.

“Iran is a consistent supporter of the struggle against ISIS and lifting the arms embargo would help Iran to advance its efficiency in fighting terrorism,” he added, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State.


The Globe said something about Zarif shouting, but I didn't see anything about it.