Iran FM: Western differences, not Tehran, to blame for lack of nuclear agreement
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a news conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva this weekend. He slammed the US on Tuesday for "spinning" the coverage of the Geneva talks. (AFP)
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday lashed out at the U.S., saying that divisions between Western powers accounted for the failure of nuclear talks in Geneva last week.
The United States, the European Union and Iran worked intensively together for months on a proposal to help end the 10-year stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program. But talks in Geneva between Tehran and six world powers ended Sunday without an agreement.
Zarif said blaming Iran only served to undermine confidence in the negotiations which are set for another round on Nov. 20, in response to remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Kerry said Iran had balked at the Geneva talks just as world powers were closing in on a deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
“The P5+1 was unified on Saturday when we presented our proposal to the Iranians... But Iran couldn’t take it,” said Kerry, who took part in the high-level talks.
Zarif, on his Twitter account, alluded to comments by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who has been pilloried in the Iranian media after reports emerged that he spoiled a potential deal.
Fabius said Paris could not accept a “fool’s game” - in other words, a weak deal with Iran.
“Mister secretary of state, is it Iran which changed half the text of the Americans on Thursday and made contrary statements on Friday morning?” Zarif asked.
“No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6 p.m. Thursday to 5:45 p.m. Saturday. But it can further erode confidence,” he tweeted.
“We are committed to constructive engagement. Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives.”
The talks saw the foreign ministers of the P5+1 group - Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany – attend the Geneva meet in hopes of finally concluding a deal with Iran.