The interim nuclear accord negotiated directly between Washington and Tehran was already secretly in the bag before the two-day talks between Iran and the Six World powers took place in Geneva Thursday and Friday. The plan was for a ceremonial signing to take place Friday, Nov. 8, after US Secretary of State John Kerry flew in from Jerusalem and the Iranian Foreign Minister confirmed “the general outline of an agreement.”
Half a dozen foreign ministers from across the globe flew into Geneva to add their signatures to the interim accord.
But the signing did not take place and the event dragged on into Saturday, Nov. 9.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius remarked: “There is an initial draft that we do not accept… I have no certainty that we can finish up.” He also referred to the concerns of Iran’s neighbors in the Middle East.
French reservations on the accord were not, however, the main obstacle. It may be recalled that a last-minute phone call from President Barack Obama on July 31 persuaded President Francois Holland to return to their hangars the French bombers standing ready at Saudi air bases to strike Syria after its chemical attack.
The French government will no doubt be won round again and give the interim deal with Iran a chance.
The US president’s phone conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (“This is a very, very bad deal!”) early Saturday was a lot more heated. It took place after a three-day visit by John Kerry, which DEBKAfile’s sources reported Wednesday hardly touched on the Palestinian question: Most of the time he was on the phone to the US delegation in Geneva, the White House and the Iranian Foreign Minister.