Iranian Official Faults Kerry and France for Breakdown in Talks

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from The New York Times,

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister

The Iranian foreign minister turned to a Twitter account late Monday to challenge Secretary of State John Kerry over the failure of weekend talks in Geneva to produce agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, reacted after Mr. Kerry said at a news conference in the United Arab Emirates that while the world powers negotiating with Iran had agreed on a unified proposal, Mr. Zarif’s team had balked.

His remarks followed reports that France, one of the nations that was a party to the talks, had broken ranks to seek tougher terms, objecting that the proposed deal would do too little to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment or to stop the development of a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium.

“The French signed off on it; we signed off on it,” Mr. Kerry said. “There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it.”

On his Twitter feed, however, Mr. Zarif said: “Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of U.S. draft Thursday night? And publicly commented against it Friday morning?” He was apparently alluding to the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, who commented publicly on the talks as they were underway.

“No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6 p.m. Thursday to 5:45 p.m. Saturday,” Mr. Zarif wrote, referring to the countries with which Tehran is negotiating — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. “But it can further erode confidence.”

In a subsequent tweet, the minister said: “We are committed to constructive engagement. Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives.”

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