If President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were still optimistic about the latest round of talks, the comments of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization head Fereydoun Abbasi should disabuse them of that notion.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Isfahan, according to a news compilation circulated by U.S. diplomats in the region, Abbasi said that Iran would announce further “achievements” at the next round of talks, and that Iran would not accept any new restrictions:
“Iran has new achievements and matters, which it will announce in the future as a political support for the country in the nuclear talks… Iran wants the people’s rights in nuclear matters to be respected and that we not be asked to fulfill any other obligations than those which exist in signed treaties.”
In other words, Iran’s program keeps progressing, the incentives offered in Almaty have not brought increasing Iranian flexibility, and that Iran continues to ignore the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which found Tehran to be in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement, let alone several UN Security Council resolutions on the topic.
Offering incentives is neither wise nor sophisticated diplomacy if the other side is not anywhere near the zone of possible agreement. Rather, premature and unilateral incentives can actually be diplomatic malpractice because they retrench positions and make future dealings all the more difficult. Today, however, accountability seems to be as dirty a word in Foggy Bottom as it is in Tehran.