Iran nuclear talks at crucial stage as Saudis bomb Yemen

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AT THE same time as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf state planes, with US support, are bombing the Yemen and its Houthi Shia rebels, who have been fighting the Al Qaeda movement in the Yemen, US Secretary of State John Kerry has cancelled his pre-arranged return to the USA in order to continue the nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, where they have reached a decisive, deadline stage.

The State Department has confirmed that Kerry will be staying in Lausanne for more talks.

Foreign ministers from six world powers are trying to reach a deal with Iran to hold back its nuclear programme in return for an easing of crippling sanctions. They are working towards a self-imposed deadline of 31 March.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has already had talks with Kerry, who is to be joined by the German and French Foreign Ministers, with the foreign ministers of Russia, China and the UK due to arrive at the talks late on Sunday as they go into their final three days before the end of March deadline.

Negotiators say that they are closer than ever before to a deal but it is still not done, and no one can say with 100% per cent certainty that it will be.

The last difficult details are as much about political power in the region as they are about nuclear energy. The US and its EU allies, with Russia and China on the sidelines, are urging the Iranians to take ‘some very tough decisions to get relief from crippling sanctions’.

Negotiators from the P5+1 group – the five permanent member of the UN Security Council plus Germany – want to ensure that Iran cannot develop nuclear weapons in a region where Israel already has a large stock of nuclear weapons as do other key US allies such as Pakistan.

On Saturday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that after 12 years of negotiations with Iran the talks had entered their ‘endgame’ and that ‘decisive days are ahead’.

After his meeting with Steinmeier and the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Iran’s Zarif said: ‘I think we can in fact make the necessary progress to be able to resolve all the issues and start writing them down in a text that will become the final agreement.’

Fabius interjected stating: ‘We have moved forward on certain points, but on others not enough.’

In fact, this is not the only ‘game’ that is going on. In the Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States backed by the USA and Egypt have allied themselves with Al Qaeda and are bombing the Shia Houthi movement that is supported by Iran.

At the same time the Egyptian president Sisi, at the current Arab summit, has called for the Arab League to organise its own army with the Egyptian army at its centre, to intervene with ground forces in ‘hotspots’ such as the Yemen and Libya.

The Palestinian leader Abbas has raised at the summit the spectre of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip becoming separate states, leaving Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugee crisis forgotten, adding that he hoped the summit would condemn and refuse any proposals that might lead to such a scenario.

Abbas added that it would not be long before Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem was complete.

Faced with the US and UK imperialists backing the attack on Iran that has already begun with the bombing of the Houthis in the Yemen, while Abbas has thought it necessary to appeal to the Arab League not to agree to Palestinian bantustans instead of a state, the Iranian leadership have some serious thinking to do.

There is the example before them of what happened to Colonel Gadaffi and Libya once it had given up its development of wmds!

It is clear that a major imperialist assault on the Middle East has begun with the bombing of the Yemen, and that there is a determination amongst the imperialist powers to redraw the boundaries of countries such as Iraq and Syria, in a new Sykes Picot manoeuvre to create new countries, a process that would immediately threaten the existence of Iran.

Iran has every right to have nuclear power and to use it for weapons – as long as the Middle East is not an agreed nuclear free zone.

This is not the time for Iran to concede that right.