French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, an important player in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran doubts that a final nuclear deal with Iran will be made because he doesn’t believe the rogue nation will ever negotiate away its ability to build an atomic bomb.
At the same time the Senate is hinting it will announce a new sanctions bill sometime on Thursday.
France, has taken a tough line with Iran over the talks (unlike the United States). He was the person who called the deal being negotiated a “suckers deal.”
Discussions have been stalled lately because the sides are feuding about how to implement a preliminary accord that temporarily Iran’s from increasing its enriching abilities in exchange for limited relief from sanctions. But of course the centrifuges keep running.
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“We have to implement honestly the first phase,” Mr. Fabius said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
“Then my main concern is the second phase. It is unclear if the Iranians will accept to definitively abandon any capacity of getting a weapon or only agree to interrupt the nuclear program.”
Mr. Fabius said Western powers need to focus their efforts on how to deprive Iran of “breakout capacity,” the ability to restart a bomb-making program from dormant nuclear sites and make a quick dash to a weapon before world powers can react.
“What is at stake is to ensure that there is no breakout capacity,” Mr. Fabius said.
Even under the supposedly moderate regime of President Hassan Rouhani Iran insists it has the right to enrich uranium and to build nuclear reactors. Western nations say those capabilities clear the way for Iran to produce fuel for an atomic bomb.
The U.S. Senate is preparing to ignore the President and announce a bill that would hike sanctions should Iran renege on the deal or should the parties be unable to negotiate a final deal according to a National Journal report published on Wednesday evening.
Lawmakers are circulating legislation to impose additional sanctions that would kick in after the six-month negotiating window to reach a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program runs out, or if Iran fails to hold up its end of the bargain in the interim.
The exact timing of the legislation’s introduction will be largely up to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who is leading the bipartisan sanctions effort with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. Lawmakers and staff involved in the negotiations, however, say the bill could be ready as soon as Thursday
Sources close to the discussions report that Iran’s temporary break-off in negotiations last week which were caused by Administration efforts to enforce existing sanctions strengthened the Senate’s resolve to create a new sanctions bill.
“If a bill is introduced, the significance would be that it would essentially be a vote of no confidence in this deal, and that would be very damaging,” said Matthew Duss, a policy analyst with the liberal Center for American Progress. “If a bill is not introduced, the significance would be that the administration has been successful in holding off a challenge to the deal.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who despite his original biography never served in Vietnam said Wednesday that he is committed to pushing forward on a sanctions bill to keep pressure on Iran and would like to see a bill with strong, clear language and the broadest possible bipartisan coalition introduced as soon as possible.
What is most interesting about the Iranian negotiations is that everything is running in reverse. The least likely member of the P5+1 to take a hard line France, is taking the hard line as opposed to the United States who seems over anxious to make a deal. And it is the members of the President’s own party, Senators like Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are the most vocal in opposition to Obama’s weak stance in the negotiations.