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Iran Foreign Minister: West Is To Blame For Crumbling Nuclear Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye
AFP/Getty Images
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif.

Reacting to a speech in which Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran rejected a "fair" proposal on its nuclear program, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif seemed to put the blame squarely on France.

Zarif said on Twitter that "no amount of spinning" can change what happened during the marathon negotiating sessions in Geneva, but "it can further erode confidence."

"Mr.Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of [the] US draft Thursday night? and publicly commented against it Friday morning?" Zarif continued.

At issue in all of this is Iran's nuclear program, which the West says will be used to build a weapon and Iran says is intended only for peaceful purposes. Specifically, the parties were trying to negotiate a six-month freeze of Iran's nuclear program, while seeking a longer-term deal.

As we've reported, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S., plus Germany) became very serious over the weekend, so much so that foreign ministers, including Kerry, flew to Geneva to try to seal the deal.

After that happened, France publicly opposed the deal on the table. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned against accepting a "fool's deal."

Then on Monday, Kerry put the blame directly on Iran. Reuters reports:

" '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,' Kerry told reporters. ...

"Zarif's view of events was supported by a Russian Foreign Ministry source. Commenting on Kerry's remarks, the source told Reuters: 'Such an interpretation simplifies extremely and even distorts the essence of what happened in Geneva.

"'The American-prepared draft of a joint document suited the Iranian side,' the source said. 'But since a decision at talks in such a format is made by consensus, it was not possible to reach a final agreement, unfortunately. But it was not the Iranians' fault.' "

Zarif finished his flurry of tweets on a positive note: "We are committed to constructive engagement," he tweeted. "Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.