Iran’s response to Congress inserting itself into the P5+1 Talks was swift, blunt and to the point. President Rouhani said Tehran is dealing with world powers, not American lawmakers. Essentially dismissing the US Congress’ role as meddling underlings, unnecessary to the process, Tehran appears to place little importance on anything the U.S. legislative body says or does as it relates to these negotiations.
“Iran will not allow U.S. domestic politics to derail nuclear negotiation,” said Iran Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham. “That is an issue related to their domestic affairs. We are dealing with the America government,” Afkham said. One can only take that statement to mean one thing. The United States needs to get its domestic issues in order before returning to the negotiating table.
Iran needs to know if U.S. negotiators has the authority to make a deal before even bothering to return to the talks. If anything agreed upon can be challenged or reversed later, it wouldn’t make much sense to proceed any further. Approaching the next round of talks, shackled by political infighting and overt acts of sabotage from external influence, places the Obama administration at a considerable disadvantage.
Any astute observer will be interested to know how U.S. negotiators will sit across from their Iranian counterparts with any degree of legitimacy, when the idea of Congress looms over every consideration. How can U.S. negotiators expect to be taken seriously by Russia, China, and the E-3 when all are aware the United States is being held on a short leash. How can the Obama negotiators be authorized to make a deal without having the independence to make a decision?
When Iran’s Supreme Leader said last week that there would be no deal without immediate sanctions relief, that was a final offer. When Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that point at point in a televised speech in northern Iran saying that his country will not accept any comprehensive nuclear agreement unless all sanctions are lifted, that was take it or leave it. There is no higher authority to answer to in Iran. When the Supreme Leader gives the word, you can take it to the bank.
Bottom line: In the upcoming nuclear talks, “sanctions” will be the main focus of the negotiations between Iranian side and the P5+1 group, Rouhani said. Given Tehran’s immovable position on immediate sanctions relief upon reaching a final agreement stands ready to crash directly into Congress’ unstoppable force to maintain them, it’ll be interesting to see who blinks or walks first. Stay tuned, this party is just heating up.