‘New demands on Iran – deliberate stumbling blocks’

Ali Akbar Velayati (C), Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on international affairs, meets with Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam along with Iranian ambassador in Lebanon Mohammad Fathali (L) at the government palace in Beirut, May 18, 2015. (Reuters / Mohamed Azakir)
Additional demands on Iran at the nuclear talks put forward by France are basically impossible to fulfill; it’s unlikely that they were made without the full knowledge and approval of the US, says political commentator Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has flown from Vienna back to Tehran for consultations after tough negotiations with Western counterparts on Iran’s nuclear program. The negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program have ended with no result and it's evident they will not meet the Tuesday deadline.

RT:What's the paramount focus of the current negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: I believe - as before - the lifting of the sanctions is very important, but also a couple of other issues have come up in addition to that, and that’s research and development which from what I understand has been recommended or demanded by Israel, or putting a stop to research and development, and also very intrusive inspections that would include Iran’s military sites or anywhere else at any time. They are the demands that will be negotiated foremost.

RT:The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has listed three main conditions for Iran to meet in order to make progress in the talks. But the last time the talks were held, the stumbling point was the lifting of sanctions. Why is that not being discussed this time around?

READ MORE: Ray of hope for Iran nuclear deal before June 30 deadline

SSU: Sanctions will definitely be discussed as well but these additional demands that have been placed on these talks on Iran by France are really nothing but deliberate stumbling blocks. It’s interesting; one might think that it is France but in reality I believe they are playing good cop bad cop and France wouldn’t be making these demands without the full knowledge and approval of the US. In playing this game many regional Arab allies of the US have apprehensions that this nuclear deal is going through, and France, not the US, is making additional demands which are basically impossible to fulfill. France has managed to endure itself to those same states such as Qatar by signing billion dollar deals and perhaps it’s a kind of compensation dolled up by the US for the French following the US imposing sanctions on Russia and destroying the sale of the Mistral warships. So, all sort of things in these negotiations are going on behind the scenes, not only between the P5+1 and Iran but between the Western allies as well.

RT:Why is the West demanding concessions from Iran but giving very little in return?

SSU: It’s interesting; in 2003 the same thing happened, at that time it was just the EU and Iran. With the EU Three and Iran I’m referring to the Paris agreement and that time for a couple of years Iran voluntarily suspended all its nuclear activities, and according to one of the European delegates who said “we gave them a beautiful box of chocolates but there was nothing inside.” And we see a repeat of that pattern and I think we should be very mindful of what Mr. Obama promised AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in 2008. He said that if the US willingness to engage with Iran in nuclear talks and diplomacy will bring others on board with us, so when the time comes we made demands on them - and very unreasonable demands are being made every day - then we can have the other member states join us in pushing further sanctions and can demonstrate to the Iranian people that it’s the government that’s at fault. I think this is really very crucial that one of the things poll after polls shows, and even US think tanks like the US Institute of Peace have demonstrated, that the Iranian people have always been 100 percent behind the government in the nuclear program and now it appears to me …that the US is attempting, and its Western allies too, to create a divide between the Iranian people with regard to the nuclear program. I think this is where the danger is. The talks are just continuing unabated and all the time new demands are being placed on Iran.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.