The deadline to the extension to the extension to the deadline in the Iran nuclear talks is looming, and it looks like the pressure might be getting to the negotiators. While the U.S. negotiating team works hard to meet Iran’s demands while enjoying what remains of their stash of Twizzlers and Rice Krispies treats, Secretary of State John Kerry appears to have finally lost his famous composure, breaking into a shouting match with Iranian Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
As the negotiations grind on in the Austrian capital, frustrations have boiled over into decidedly undiplomatic confrontations. In one incident on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif could be heard shouting in nearby rooms.
A Kerry aide tip-toed into the room during the evening meeting at the Palais Coburg, a former aristocratic residence converted into a luxury hotel, to warn them that everyone outside could hear their row, according to Iranian state-run news agency IRNA.
“Seems like you had a constructive meeting last night; the whole hotel could hear you,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier quipped when he met Zarif the next day, IRNA reported.
That hasn’t been the only ugly exchange reported.
Another clash on Monday evening involved Zarif and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov telling Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, to lay off the “threats.”
The account, provided by Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti, identified a senior official from the group of six world powers telling Zarif that if he didn’t want to reach a deal, they could end the talks right then and there. IRNA identified that official as Mogherini.
According to RIA, Zarif snapped back: “Never try to threaten the Iranians,” prompting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to chime in: “Nor the Russians.” Russia and Iran are both pressing to end the arms ban.