The nuclear deal Iran and world powers are trying to negotiate hit a roadblock Thursday when Iran's supreme leader said economic sanctions on his country must be lifted as soon as an accord is signed and Iran's military facilities will remain off-limits to international inspectors.
His assertions contradict U.S. and French descriptions of the political framework that negotiators announced on April 2 in Switzerland, with three months left to work out the details before a June 30 deadline.
"Sanctions should be removed at once," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his first public comment on the negotiations. He would have to approve whatever Iran's negotiators work out with China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and U.S.
Oil markets reflected the doubts about the outcome of the talks. Brent for May settlement climbed $1.19, or 2.14 percent, to end the session at $56.74 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Khamenei's remarks could be a negotiating tactic. One critic of the potential Iran deal, Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, said the supreme leader's comments "will put enormous pressure on President Obama to make even more significant concessions if he wants to turn an increasingly not-agreed framework into a final deal."
Read full article here.