Trump starts indirect negotiations with Iran ahead of his summit with Kim

The French president, the German Chancellor and the Iranian Foreign minister are present in the US this week, all bent on saving the 2015 nuclear accord. French President Emmanuel Macron begins a state visit to Washington Monday, April 23; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due on Friday, while Iranian foreign minister Javad Mohammed Zarif is spending the week in New York. The two European leaders will try and persuade the US president not to quit the nuclear accord, while the Iranian foreign minister is already playing hard ball through the US media.
In a word, indirect negotiations were launched this week on the future of the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.
For an exclusive take on this unfolding story, subscribe to the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out on Friday, April 20.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that these under-the-table negotiations are not restricted to the nuclear issue, but also touch on Iran’s interests in Syria. A month or more before his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, US President Donald Trump has therefore set his feet on a negotiating track with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, channeling it through the two European leaders and the Iranian foreign minister.

Our sources reveal that working papers were prepared for the US-European summit in Washington by a team of US, French, German and British diplomats. They are to be the agreed guidelines for a new common Western policy line on Iran, on which the four allies were hitherto at odds. The paper has four parts:

  • General Intent
  • Iran is prohibited from developing nuclear weapon after the expiry of the nuclear accord in 2025.
  • International watchdog IAEA inspections will be intensified on site, including the military compounds where nuclear activity is suspected, and which Tehran closed to the monitors.
  • Tehran’s continuation of ballistic missile development will incur fresh sanctions.

In his interviews to the US media, Foreign Minister Zarif played Iran’s opening gambits for the bargaining process. His diplomatic style is typically offensive rather than defensive. Tehran would not stand for any amendments being inserted in the original nuclear accord text, he said, and warned that his country would resume its nuclear program “at much greater speed,” if Trump withholds the next round of Iran sanctions waivers due for renewal on May 12, effectively taking the US out of the accord. Zarif also insisted that staying in the accord was not enough. The US must lift the sanctions strangling the Iranian economy. He also dismissed as “misguided” French and German efforts to pressure Tehran into curtailing its regional policies and missile program in exchange for Washington staying in the deal.

On Syria, Zarif dropped six points onto the virtual negotiating table.

  1. An imminent military clash between Iran and Israel is not envisaged at present.
  2. All the players in the Syrian crisis [US in particular] must stop seeking military solutions and take to the path of diplomacy.
  3. They must all acknowledge Bashar Assad’s continued rule in Damascus
  4. Iranian forces must remain in Syria to fight “terrorist elements.”
  5. Iran has no territorial or other claims on Syria. Proof? Iranian forces have never raised their national flag at any place of their deployment in the country.
  6. The Hizballah contingents are deployed in Syria to safeguard national security [of Lebanon]. Once their mission is accomplished, they will withdraw.

It may be understood from these points that Tehran won’t object to Hizballah forces exiting Syria – but Iran is there to stay.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman referred to Iran’s latest war threats against Israel in a toast to Israel’s 70th anniversary on Sunday, April 22, at the IDF high command. Netanyahu addressed Zarif as “the foreign minister of a nation that sends armed UAVs against Israel and ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia.” He said: “I listened to his diplomatic language and noticed the huge gap between his words and the deeds of the Revolutionary Guards, who are deploying an army for the explicit goal of destroying Israel.”

However, the upshot of these events is that Iran, whose motives are malign, is an active participant in talks that affect the future of Syria, while Israel has no role in the process.

President Macron is close to the Israeli position on Syria: He reiterates his opposition to President Trump’s determination to pull US troops out of Syria, because, he says, that “will leave the floor,” to Iran, as well as ISIS and Bashar Assad. Israel is taking no part in this argument, although the US troop withdrawal would leave its borders dangerously exposed to its arch-enemy, Iran.
Trump, for his part, is indirectly keeping the ball rolling with Tehran, while juxtaposing it with his forthcoming face to face with Kim Jong-un in May or June. He appears to calculate that if Kim agrees to US troops remaining in South Korea as part of a denuclearization deal, then Iran would appreciate that the US withdrawal from Syria is a very big concession indeed, for which Tehran ought to pay a high price.

DEBKAfile’s sources predict that Trump will come to terms with Macron and Merkel on both items at issue between them. They will find a compromise for preserving the nuclear deal with Iran and a formula on the US troop question in Syria. This formula appears to consist of taking US military strength out of Syria but remaining “beyond the horizon.”
Netanyahu and Lieberman must therefore contend first with the fallout from the US troops’ exit from Syria, before confronting Iran’s long-term presence just across its northern border.


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30 thoughts on “Trump starts indirect negotiations with Iran ahead of his summit with Kim

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 11:48 at 11:48

    The only function for Iran’s “long term presence” in Syria (after the civil war is over and Assad remains firmly in control thanks to Russia) is to attack Israel at some point, along with Hezbollah from Lebanon and Hamas from Gaza.
    Just another fine day in the Middle east in the making!

    • Apr 23, 2018 @ 16:47 at 16:47

      Maybe to make peace finally with Jews

    • Apr 23, 2018 @ 21:04 at 21:04

      Tel Aviv Nuked and then Damascus !


  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 11:49 at 11:49

    why negotiate , the fucking Americans wont understand thats there is no use negotiating with iran.

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 12:07 at 12:07

    “—————————–Americans wont understand thats there is no use negotiating with iran.”


    It wasn’t too long ago that the USA (via our former Secretary of State Herman Munster representing the Obama Administration) along with the Brits, France, the Soviets (oops——I meant the Russians), Red China and Angela’s Germany all negotiated the worst, totally incompetent and one-sided (in favor of the adversary) deal with Iran which resulted in so much money going to Iran that what’s happening in Syria and the rest of the Middle East is now a reality!

    • Apr 23, 2018 @ 16:54 at 16:54

      The money belonged to Iran and its people ;
      And who are the Americans with their Jews are to take money from anyone ?
      Why don`t i take money from everyone , but start it from American /British Jews like Rothschild .
      You know what would be the result of it ? A planet earth transforming into black matter . Nukes will be flying everywhere . Who those American degenerates think they are with their monkeys running around and decide who can live or die ? Who made Gods or rulers over anyone ? The end of it is already visible , and coming fast pace .

      • Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:42 at 11:42

        “The money belonged to Iran and its people ;”


        Some time after the Obama Administration refunded all of that money (in cash no less) to Iran, there were crowds protesting throughout Iran asking: “where is the money?”. There’s a simple answer: Iran’s military and destabilizing activities in the Middle East———certainly not the people of Iran!
        Apparently, solomeo, what you lack in knowledge you certainly make up for in your blatant anti-Semitism as evident in many of you posts————truly impressive!

        “————–with their monkeys running around————–”


        You can stop running around now, OK ?

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 12:42 at 12:42

    Complete waste of time. Blow iran apart instead – before they do it to someone else.

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 12:49 at 12:49

    Rubbish. Who’s making money? And who wants to destroy Israel?

    Blow apart the Persians now before they start a war.

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 13:08 at 13:08

    Why does Iran like to waste all its money on vast amounts of weaponry? If it didn’t threaten other countries, it wouldn’t need it. It’s almost as if it’s a genocidal military dictatorship.

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 10:55 at 10:55

      “Why does Iran like to waste all its money on vast amounts of weaponry? If it didn’t threaten other countries, it wouldn’t need it. It’s almost as if it’s a genocidal military dictatorship.”

      RIGHT ON!

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 13:11 at 13:11

    Here is what Trump should open with:

    1) Pull your forces out of Syria and Lebanon.

    2) Remove all 150k+ missiles from Lebanese soil and disband Hezbollah.

    3) Destroy your nukes and stop the program.

    4) End your antisemitic incitement.

    5) Allow opposition parties freedom in your Islamic State.

    If you do not do all of the above in 6 months, then we will do it for you, wink, wink.

    • Apr 23, 2018 @ 14:32 at 14:32

      even if Mohamed came back from the dead and told Iranians to accepts that seal, they would still not go for it

      • Apr 23, 2018 @ 14:39 at 14:39

        Do not make it optional, make it mandatory, if you know what I mean.

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 2:21 at 2:21


  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 13:41 at 13:41

    At least some progress seems to being made. No one will get all that they want and no one will start a massive war either.

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 10:58 at 10:58

      “————and no one will start a massive war either.”


      That part still remains to be seen.

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 15:41 at 15:41

    Looks like Iran has just sealed its own fate ,,Time to wipe Iran off the map

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 17:14 at 17:14

    3 step to go
    1) Trump confirm the Nuke treaty
    2) The Bankrupt super power wihtdeaw their troops from Syria
    3) Iram- Syrian marching in to Golan

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:10 at 11:10

      “3 step to go
      1) Trump confirm the Nuke treaty
      2) The Bankrupt super power wihtdeaw their troops from Syria
      3) Iram- Syrian marching in to Golan”


      3 more realistic steps to go:

      1) Trump, Britain, France and Germany finally agree that the Iran deal, as it stands now, is totally untenable and must be substantially enhanced or scrapped altogether.
      2) The USA relocates its forces from Syria to Israel and establishes a huge military base there to counter balance the Soviets (oops——I meant the Russians), Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime and all of the Shiite mercenaries Iran imported into Syria.
      3) Iran and their allies get wiped out before making it even half way to the Golan border.

    • Apr 26, 2018 @ 5:00 at 5:00

      Every one with “as” in their names should STFU

  • Apr 23, 2018 @ 23:49 at 23:49

    The 6 powers+Iran negotiations are buying time for the Russians to deploy S-300 in Syria and Iran. The longer Israel waits to attack Iran the more Jewish lives will be lost in the forthcoming and unavoidable war. The Russian Army newspaper “The Red Star” stated the following at the end of WWII: if you kill a little German then he’ll never grow up to be a fascist. Israel should learn from the Russians: in a single swift move destroy IRG, all oil facilities, occupied government buildings, all airports, all telecommunications facilities; have insurgent Baluchies and Turkmen assassinate the Army generals and the head mullahs, coordinate with the Saudis a ground invasion into Yemen and Saudi special forces into Iran. Leave Iranian army lower ranks alive and don’t disband the army units as Bush mistakenly done in Iraq.

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 0:59 at 0:59

      typical keyboard warior ,a lot of rubbish
      swift destroying of IGRC, baluch insrgent
      after you finsh the hamas, then go to iran

      • Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:15 at 11:15

        “after you finsh the hamas, then go to iran”

        Are those your final orders, abbas ?

  • Apr 24, 2018 @ 1:34 at 1:34

    Iran has installed S-300 long ago
    russian deliverthesystwen one year ago
    you have no idea, go and goole it

    • Apr 24, 2018 @ 11:22 at 11:22

      “Iran has installed S-300 long ago
      russian deliverthesystwen one year ago
      you have no idea, go and goole it”


      Evidently, those S-300’s were not too effective against the USA, Great Britain and France when they reduced the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities, so you go “goole” it if you like!

      • Apr 24, 2018 @ 12:38 at 12:38

        i donot know how effektive are there or not

        Syria Airdefense shut 71 of 100 US cruise missiles last time

        they reduce nothing, they bommbed emty buildings

  • Apr 24, 2018 @ 16:34 at 16:34

    Until the issue of Eastern Europe and NATO are addressed, the Russians will not allow the Middle East to a resolution. US and Russian bickering over Syria has oil on the rise and that is the life blood of Russia. tell The Tsar NATO’s footprint in Eastern Europe will be reduced but Russia must abandon it’s support to Iran and you will see the Tsar drive away like he just dropped off an abandoned Dog.

  • Apr 26, 2018 @ 19:19 at 19:19

    The end is nigh! Alcohol and techno musick are destroying the love of Jesus! Convert to atheism now before Jesus destroys the Jewish people at the lands of the heathen false gods!

  • May 7, 2018 @ 2:18 at 2:18

    Completely unclear why the world needs to negotiate with Iran. It has nothing to offer other than destabilization of the Middle East on all fronts. At the same time it has no economic or military power relative to the west (same goes for the Russian military which s still a shadow of what it once was). It would be much better for the western world if we just take out the Muslim fanatic Iranian regime now as opposed to wait until they gain more power and influence in the region. Then we will be able to do it only it will be more difficult and cost more lives. Better to destroy the next Nazi Germany now… otherwise we will face these terrorists and fanatics on the streets of London, Paris, New York and Berlin.

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