Western diplomats are not encouraged–if not much surprised–by signs Iran is playing games in scheduling a new date for nuclear talks.
Iran doesn’t seem ready to negotiate, or else is “playing for time,” one US administration official told the Back Channel over the weekend.
International negotiators have been waiting for Iran to agree on a date for a new round of talks with six world powers–possibly as soon as next week.
“We’re actively working on getting agreement on a date and venue,” a senior western official told the Back Channel Wednesday. “Stay tuned.”
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, speaking in India last week, said he expected talks between Iran and the P5+1 to be scheduled some time this month.
But as of Tuesday, Iran had not settled on a date.
Western diplomats fear if the Iranians don’t RSVP very soon, it will be logistically difficult to put together a meeting for next week.
American officials have interpreted the Iranian delay in scheduling talks to date as a potentially inauspicious sign of continued dysfunction or indecisiveness in Tehran, diplomatic sources tell the Back Channel.
American negotiators “are ready, if Iran says yes, to work through with them a step by step deal,” a Washington non-proliferation expert told the Back Channel Tuesday. “They want to be able to make a deal. And a major concern is whether Iran is capable of making a deal, whether the Supreme Leader is capable of even deciding that he wants to make a deal. That is where their concern is.” Continue reading