Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif asked Sunday, Nov. 10 for an urgent meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the day after France aborted a nuclear accord at the Geneva conference with the six powers, debkafile’s exclusive sources report.
Before flying out of Geneva, Zarif called the president and warned him that unless Iran displayed a measure of flexibility, the negotiations with the powers would remain stalled – and badly-needed relief from sanctions stay out of reach – even at the reconvened conference on Nov. 20.
The two Iranian leaders estimate that the West will not give ground on two basic demands: the removal of Iran’s stock of 20-percent grade enriched uranium and a commitment not to activate the heavy water plant under construction at Arak. The completion of the reactor some time next year would therefore find Iran prohibited from using it under its international commitments.
In a public statement Sunday, Rouhani declared that enrichment is a red line for Iran. “We have said to the negotiating sides that we will not respond to any threat, sanction, humiliation or discrimination. The Islamic Republic has not and will not bow its head to threats from any authority.”
Rouhani and Zarif are also expected to ask the leader for permission to accept a freeze on the introduction of new centrifuges at the enrichment plants. They will tell him that this restraint needs to hold good for no more than a six-month period and would meanwhile elicit relaxations of some sanctions.
The president warned Khamenei earlier that the Iranian treasury is empty and without some sanction relief in the next couple of months, the government will be unable to cover its current operating expenses.
Full article: Iranian leaders urgently mull some nuclear flexibility. Rouhani tells Khamenei: The cupboard is bare! (DEBKAfile)