Iran puffs chest: No deal unless sanctions lifted all at once

The stakes in the Iran Nuclear Negotiations were raised today when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated:

We will not sign any deal unless on the very first day of its implementation all economic sanctions against Iran are lifted all at once.

This echoed comments made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei earlier in the day. The occasion was a ceremony celebrating National Nuclear Technology Day, so it is possible that the posturing could be what was previously explained as “intended for a domestic political audience”. In fact, President Obama is on his own campaign to sell the deal to his constituencies including the US Senate, everyday Americans, and America’s skeptical allies worldwide.

To look at it from another angle–what do people almost universally despise? Being sold something, as in, being convinced about the qualities of something that otherwise may not be apparent. Think used car salesman.

The fracturing of interpretation between the 5+1 Powers and Iran were apparent following the release of the Deal Framework, with Iran almost immediately disputing the time-frame in which sanctions would be lifted that had been announced by President Obama and the US fact sheet:

“The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a Twitter message, according to state media.

Responding in Washington, acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. interpretation, calling for a more cautious rollback of sanctions, was the correct one.

“Suspension is obviously the first step,” she said. “In terms of U.S. sanctions, it’s suspension and then later termination to ensure that Iran has abided by its commitment.”

The groundwork had been laid early on that there may be differing “versions” of selling going on by both sides, depending on the constituency-in-audience:

In addition to the potential differences, pressure from the outside—from critics of the deal in Iran, in the U.S. and among U.S. allies in the Middle East—will test the diplomatic effort.

“There is no doubt that Javad Zarif will have to sell this deal just like we will,” a senior Obama administration official said. “And his task is not simple and a given, nor is ours.”

Critics of President Obama have seized upon the differing forms of rhetoric as a signal of various forms of trouble. The first being that the deal has a lot of hurdles to clear between now and the deadline of June 30 and could ultimately break down entirely if the daylight that is showing between the two sides is as wide as it would appear. The second, and possibly the most nefarious, is that the administration that sold Obamacare by promising “If you like you doctor and your insurance, you can keep them” will say anything and everything possible to push the Iran Deal.

I am reminded of the old saying, “Never trust someone who thinks the truth depends on who they are talking to”, which seems to fit this scenario perfectly.



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