No deal? Iran’s nuke chief charges ‘enemies’ with reneging on commitments

EU official: “Iran has given a clear signal it is not interested in a deal now.”

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Iran’s nuclear chief said over the weekend that “the enemies decide to go back on their commitments,” in an apparent signal to western powers that Tehran would not accept the current proposal of the nuclear deal.

Mohammed Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Iran was seeking to expand its nuclear program but “the enemy has tried to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining advanced technology” to do so.

Eslami, who made his remarks at an event in Kashan honoring Iranian nuclear scientists allegedly slain by Israel, has been vocal about ending the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into three undeclared nuclear sites in the country that were found to have traces of enriched uranium.

According to the London-based opposition website Iran International, Eslami’s latest remarks come amid signs of a growing hardline approach to the ongoing negotiations to revive the tattered nuclear deal, despite the U.S.’s and EU’s relatively upbeat public response to Iran’s latest input on the current proposal.

The website cited an European official involved in the talks as telling journalist Laura Rozen Friday that Iran’s latest footnotes have “moved us very far back – at a time when, thanks to the EU coordinator’s perseverance, and everyone’s flexibility, we were almost there.”

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“It’s very difficult to know whether this is fixable,” he said. “In any case, Iran has given a clear signal it is not interested in a deal now.”

The latest draft by the EU was “at the outer limits of our flexibility already – and which they implicitly accepted in their August 15 response.”

While State Department spokesman Vendant Patel said late Thursday that Iran’s input was “not constructive,” spokesperson for the National Security Council, Adriene Watson, later appeared to walk back the comment and said the talks were unfolding as a “regular back and forth” in which “some gaps have closed in recent weeks but others remain.”

Nevertheless, Israel is expecting the deal to be signed “within weeks,” Channel 12 news quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.