American and European negotiators have given Iran until Saturday night, Nov. 23, the fourth day of negotiations in Geneva, to reach agreement on an interim nuclear deal, DEBKAfile’s sources report. After that deadline, those delegations plan to cut the talks short and leave. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif retorted that his government would not bow to threats. The US-EU deadline indicated that Washington, Paris, London and Berlin had reached the limit of their concessions to Iran. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said when he arrived in Geneva that the two difficulties encountered two weeks ago still remained. The Russian and Chinese foreign minister have refrained from comment.
See DEBKAfile’s earlier report on this date.
Both sides were pumping up an atmosphere of optimism as the foreign ministers of all six powers facing Iran made tracks for Geneva Saturday morning, Nov. 23, Day Four of the marathon negotiations for an accord on a six-month freeze on Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Araghchi said the six powers had agreed to respect his country’s right to enrich uranium, so removing a major hurdle in the path of an accord, whereas Foreign Minister Javad Zarif remained silent.
Sergey Lavrov was the first foreign minister to arrive Friday night, followed by Secretary of State John Kerry early Saturday. Both were said to have come to try and narrow the gaps holding up an accord. The Chinese, British, French and German foreign ministers were due in Geneva Saturday morning, after bilateral sessions between Zarif and the other six delegates failed to produce enough progress for them to adjourn to formal negotiations around the same table, least of all reach the signing stage.