Zarif Criticizes Kerry’s Comments on Iran-G5+1 Talks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign minister called into question US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks about why Tehran and the six major world powers did not reach a nuclear deal in Geneva, and urged the American diplomat to consider the realities on the ground.

Zarif Criticizes Kerry’s Comments on Iran-G5+1 Talks

Iran and the G5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) wrapped up three days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva in early Sunday.

Failing to agree on a deal, the sides have agreed to resume talks on November 20, again in Geneva.

Later on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was speaking in Abu Dhabi about why the nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 failed to produce resolution, said the six world powers “signed off” on a deal, but Iran was not ready to accept it.

Kerry said the major powers were “unified on Saturday when we presented a proposal to the Iranians, and the French signed off on it, we signed off on it, and everybody agreed it was a fair proposal. There was unity, but Iran couldn't take it at that particular moment, they weren't able to accept that particular thing.”

Without directly naming France as the one G5+1 member which has seemingly obstructed a deal with Iran, Zarif called on John Kerry to take the realities into account in comment posted on his Twitter page late on Monday.

“Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of US draft Thursday night? And publicly commented against it Friday morning?” Zarif tweeted.

“No amount of spinning can change what happened within (G)5+1 in Geneva from 6PM Thursday to 5:45 PM Saturday. But it can further erode confidence,” the Iranian minister added.

Speculations about Paris’ possible role in blocking an interim deal in Geneva talks rose after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio on Saturday that there were major stumbling blocks in an initial proposed text on a nuclear deal with Iran, despite optimism from other countries negotiating with Iran.

"There is an initial draft that we don't accept... at the moment I have no certainty that we can reach a conclusion," the French minister said on Saturday morning.

And before a joint press conference between top negotiators representing Iran and the G5+1 early on Sunday, Fabius said the three days of negotiations had ended without a deal.

"The meetings in Geneva have made it possible to move forward... But we have not yet managed to conclude, because there are still some questions remaining to be dealt with," he said.

Republican lawmakers in the US, including Senator John McCain, on Sunday praised France for preventing a deal with Iran.

In recent years France has held a tough position on Iran - perhaps unnoticed, because the focus is mostly on the US stance.

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