Members of the Iranian regime are in Vienna today for ongoing negotiations over a nuclear deal. Officials from six other countries are at the table, including the United States, and Iran maintains their goal is not to build a bomb.
Diplomats said ahead of Wednesday's meeting that progress is being made but significant gaps remain on a main document and technical annexes ahead of an end-of-June deadline.
There is indeed one very significant "gap" remaining.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today weapons inspectors will not be allowed to monitor or visit nuclear facilities to verify nuclear energy is being pursued for peaceful purposes. Further, Iranian nuclear scientists will not be available for interviews, or what he calls "foreign interrogation."
“We have already said that we will not allow any inspections of military sites by foreigners,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.
“They also say that we must allow interviews with nuclear scientists. This is interrogation. I will not allow foreigners to come and talk to scientists who have advanced the science to this level,” Khamenei said.
Other Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that inspectors would not be given freedom of access to nuclear facilities — directly contradicting US officials who tout comprehensive inspections as being a key element of a final deal.
What could possibly go wrong?