Sleep deprived and sluggish after hours of negotiation, senior diplomats from the six nations that have been negotiating with Iran about the country’s controversial nuclear program emerged from the negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland with little progress made. Originally scheduled to conclude on March 31, the United States decided to abandon the established deadline when it realized that Iran was using it to its own advantage.
“They were turning our own deadline against us to see if we would give ground,” a senior United States official told the New York Times. According to the official, President Obama told the American officials who were negotiating with Iran “to ignore the deadline, make it clear that the president was ready to walk away and leave all sanctions on Iran in place, and see if that would change the dynamic.”
Two days past the original deadline and negotiations have failed to result in the preliminary framework of a deal that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program, with the goal of preventing the country from creating its own nuclear bomb, in return for lifting United Nations sanctions. This is the nineteenth round of high-level talks ever since United States secretary of state, John Kerry, met with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, a year and a half ago.
There is good news. The Obama administration is insisting that these most recent round of talks has produced an understanding with a “quantitative dimension.” That’s not much to go on but it’s still progress… I guess. The last time one of America’s top diplomats spent so much time in negotiations on foreign soul was in Versailles during the peace conference that followed the first world war, nearly a century ago.