According to Reuters (16 October) a senior U.S. official said some progress was made in high-level nuclear negotiations with Iran on Wednesday but much work remained to be done, adding the goal was still to reach a deal by a late November deadline.
The State Department official spoke after about six hours of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Vienna.
Most observers believe that a deal is unlikely in the current round of negotiations.
The Iranians are fully aware of Obama's desperate concessions to induce them to engage in these futile negotiations. A year or so before becoming president, Barack Obama indicated to the New YorkTimes that he would seek co-operation with Iran as a way to extricate the US from the quagmire of Iraq. President Obama had stated unequivocally that the United States will not permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is nobody in the Middle East believes him. Israel as well as the Arabian Gulf States including Saudi Arabia are skeptical.
Writing in the Sunday Times in June 2014, David Frum said that in May 2009 Obama wrote to Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei proposing nuclear talks and unfreezing of relations.
Obama was apparently oblivious to Iran's subversive influence on Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Iranian opposition figures I interviewed are amazed at the Obama administration's naiveté in adopting the Iranian perspective on the Middle East. The Iranian regime cannot be trusted in conflict resolution or its nuclear intentions. Iran is part of the problem, and has never been part of any solution.
The negotiations' original July 2014 deadline was extended to November 24th, the anniversary of an interim agreement. Both sides were publicly committed to a deal. President Rouhani denounced Western-led sanctions in a speech to the General Assembly, but reiterated his wish to resolve the dispute with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. President Obama put the onus on Iran, warning that a deal can happen only "if Iran seizes this historic opportunity."
The biggest stumbling block in the last round of negotiations was how much enriched uranium Iran would be allowed to continue producing.
Iran still insists it needs 19,000 centrifuges. Experts believe this number is unnecessary for usage other than nuclear weapons.
Even if Iran finally accepts a substantial reduction to below 5000, does the West really trust Iran? Does President Obama trust Iran?
John R. Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN: "We cannot verify and must not trust Iran's promises on nuclear weapons. Ignore the 'moderate' smokescreen. Sanctions have failed, so our choice is stark: use military force or let Tehran get the bomb".
Iran's state-run Fars news agency reported on May 3rd 2014 that on the eve of arrival of UN nuclear inspectors in Tehran, the Iranian regime's Atomic Energy Organization intended to deny the international inspectors access to Parchin nuclear facility. The IAEA wants to visit a specific location at the site, but Iran has not so far granted access.
According to opposition sources, over the past three years, the IAEA inspectors have frequently requested to visit a certain section of Parchin to study the unknown aspects of the regime's nuclear weapons program, without success.
Barely hours after the signing of an interim agreement in Geneva (24th November 2013) to temporarily freeze Iran's nuclear enrichment programme, President Rouhani said the interim deal recognised Iran's nuclear "rights".
US President Barack Obama welcomed that deal, saying it included "substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon". Iran agreed to give better access to inspectors and halt some of its work on uranium enrichment. According to Al Arabiya News, Iran announced just 24 hours before agreement was reached that it could not accept any agreement that did not recognize its right to enrich uranium, a demand the United States and its European allies have repeatedly rejected.
In March 2014, President Rouhani insisted that Iran would not abandon its enrichment of uranium, after US senators called for it to be denied any such right under a long-term nuclear deal.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on 9th April 2014 that Iran will never give up its nuclear programme. He said Iran had agreed to the talks to "break the hostile atmosphere" with the international community.
The Arab States in the Gulf region are wary of Iran's real intentions. In Saudi Arabia the perception is that the Iranian nuclear programme is designed to threaten the Kingdom and its allies in the Gulf.
In November 2011 the IAEA published a new report revealing advanced Iranian design for a nuclear warhead developed with the help of former Soviet scientists.
In response to the report. Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for the oil trade that links the Gulf oil-producing states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with the Indian Ocean.
Does the world trust Iran to honour its obligations? The belligerent and often conflicting statements coming out of Tehran are not reassuring.
Many experts are not fooled by the charm offense; everybody in the Middle East knows that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Rouhani can smile but his nuclear objective remains unchanged. As for Obama, he must wake up and stop deluding himself.