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Published on December 8th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton


No Major Progress in P5+1 Negotiations, Attention Turns to Talks in Turkey Next Month

Barbara Slavin, writing for IPS, has a post-game analysis of the P5+1 talks that ended yesterday. She then looks at where the talks might be heading when they resume next month in Turkey.

While one Western official who attended the talks told Slavin, on the condition of anonymity, that the Iranians “were not terribly serious” in their willingness to engage in a constructive manner, they also added that the Iranians did discuss their nuclear program—something that they had promised not to do in the days leading up to the talks—but “mainly to complain about the IAEA.”

Indeed, the WikiLeaks cables have given the Iranians much to complain about. Slavin writes:

An October 2009 cable disclosed recently by Wikileaks quotes an unnamed U.S. diplomat as saying that IAEA chief Yukiya Amano of Japan is “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision”. That contrasts with Amano’s predecessor, Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, who often criticised the U.S. approach to Iran. It is not clear whether the Iranians brought up the comment at the Geneva meetings.

U.S. officials had hoped to revive discussions of a fuel swap agreement but, after the United States and its partners rejected a swap brokered by Brazil and Turkey in May, it appears the discussion of such an agreement did not occur this week.

Slavin writes:

The Western official said there had not been “much discussion of a revised TRR” this time in Geneva, suggesting that the U.S. and its allies did not think enough progress had been made to reopen the topic.

The Iranians, for their part, had said going into the talks that they would be willing to discuss limitations on uranium enrichment.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said that talks would only progress once U.N. sanctions were lifted.

Slavin writes:

With the Geneva talks brought to a close Slavin looks at what we can expect from next month’s resumption of talks in Turkey.

Some analysts have suggested that Iran will feel more comfortable resuming negotiations in Turkey, whose Islamic- leaning government has expressed understanding for Iran’s position and need to keep face in front of a restive domestic audience.


The Geneva talks were “pretty much what we expected”, the Western official said. “We are trying to start a process that will have practical steps that can begin to build confidence. We’ll see where this leads. Good thing we still have time and can continue to ratchet up sanctions pressure.”

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2 Responses to No Major Progress in P5+1 Negotiations, Attention Turns to Talks in Turkey Next Month

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  1. avatar Jon Harrison says:

    Sounds like maybe the Iranians are just spinning out the thread.

  2. avatar JohnH says:

    Or, perhaps it’s the self-anointed “international community” that is spinning out the thread, expecting intransigence to work as it did with the Soviets, ultimately leading to regime collapse.

    Let’s not forget, Iran showed it is willing to make concessions when it did the deal with Turkey and Brazil.

    Where, exactly, has the “international community” shown that it is willing to make real concessions, not just demands?

    Power means not having to listen. And the “international community” has a long record of not listening to those it holds in low regard.

About the Author


Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

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  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

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