Khamenei: Nuclear deal could allow talks ‘on other issues’

Khamenei: Nuclear deal could allow talks ‘on other issues’
IRGC head praises Iran negotiating team

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said April 9, “If the other side avoids its amphibology [ambiguity] in the [nuclear] talks, it’ll be an experience showing it’s possible to negotiate with them on other issues.”

Ali Hashem reports, “This last phrase is significant coming from Khamenei himself, and it might be the main message to come out of the nuclear framework.”

This column has consistently argued that the nuclear talks could present an opening for engagement with Iran on other regional questions.

Most of the media coverage of Khamenei’s speech focused on his saying that sanctions should be lifted “on the day of the deal” and that Iran’s military facilities were off-limits to inspectors. Khamenei was overall noncommittal on the fate of the nuclear talks, but praised his negotiating team, as did Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), in an April 7 speech, as reported by Arash Karami.

Khamenei’s tough words should probably come as no surprise, with at least two months of difficult negotiations ahead, given that the framework agreement is only a “framework,” and in the context of threats by some US Republican lawmakers to try to derail a deal.

Laura Rozen, who covered the talks from Lausanne, reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had warned the US team that the US “fact sheet” could complicate how the deal was received in Iran: “One of the most wrenching issues for Zarif the final night of talks with Kerry was apparently the detailed fact sheet on the framework deal that the United States insisted it needed to release to be able to make the case in Washington for the emerging deal and try to prevent congressional hawks from killing it. Zarif, who on top of no sleep was also suffering from a bad cold during the Lausanne talks, has bitterly complained the US fact sheet is deeply unhelpful to his task of selling the framework deal at home.”

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