Kerry doesn’t know which side of the table to sit on.
Via Washington Times
U.S. and Iranian negotiators struggled to clinch a nuclear deal as Tuesday’s self-imposed deadline drew ever nearer, even as critics said the White House already had given up a key point of leverage by easing pressure on Iran’s economy in the months leading up to a prospective deal.
Top diplomats from the U.S. and five allies have been meeting with Iranian negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland, for days in a last-ditch try to hammer out the blueprint for a final nuclear accord by the end of June. Both sides said a final deal is still out of reach.
“We are working late into the night and obviously into tomorrow,” said Secretary of State John F. Kerry. “Everyone knows the meaning of tomorrow.”[…]
Mark Dubowitz at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said in an interview that Washington’s economic leverage over Tehran has slipped significantly as the Obama administration eases the pressure of sanctions enforcement in hopes of cutting a deal.
“If we don’t retain significant economic leverage, then we do not have the ability to enforce what will be a deeply flawed nuclear deal against Iranian cheating,” he said.
The sanctions and the post-deal prospects for the Iranian economy are looming as a bigger issue as the talks reach a critical phase. Nearly all Republicans and several key Democrats on Capitol Hill share Mr. Dubowitz’s view that the Obama administration has given too much to Iran by easing sanctions throughout the negotiating process.[…]
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies fact sheet also noted that the Treasury Department has not designated a single Iranian entity for sanctions in the first 89 days of 2015.
“Since we’ve been at the [negotiating] table, we’ve seen a de-escalation of sanctions pressure and a pace of designations that has been insufficient to keep Iran in an economic crisis,” Mr. Dubowitz said. Iran’s economy was “on its back” in 2012 and 2013 but is “now on its knees and getting up to its feet.”
“It’s not that [the Treasury Department] hasn’t been designating enough Iranian entities,” Mr. Dubowitz said. “The most important thing is that these designations don’t represent a significant economic escalation. They’re not the shocks that are going to do severe damage.