Skip to main content

Iran nuclear talks: Anger, gloom in Tehran after deal falls through

By Reza Sayah, CNN
updated 7:44 AM EST, Mon November 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World powers and Iran fail to reach deal over Tehran's nuclear program
  • Many Iranians blame French foreign minister for lack of agreement after talks
  • French foreign minister says Israel's security concerns must be taken into account
  • Israeli prime minister has said proposed agreement was "a bad deal for peace"

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Criticism covered the French Foreign Minister's Facebook page and an air of disappointment hovered over much of Tehran just hours after word came that Iran and the world powers had failed to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

"We thought we were going to have good news," said Houman, a 24 year-old Iranian actor who has been following the talks. "We were hopeful both sides were going to reach a compromise. We were disappointed when it didn't happen."

Read more: U.S. isn't 'stupid' on Iran, says Kerry

The Sunday blues in Tehran were in stark contrast to the palpable surge of optimism here 48 hours earlier. On Friday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a "framework" for a deal had been agreed to.

When all six foreign ministers representing the P5+1 -- the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany -- announced plans to fly to Geneva and join the marathon talks, many Iranians felt an agreement on the first stage of a broader deal was near.

Kerry: Iranian talks in right direction
Graham: Expect new Iran sanctions
No deal on Iran's nuclear program

"I really thought there was going to be a deal, but all of a sudden it fell apart," said taxi driver Alireza Hashemi.

The talks in Geneva were held behind closed doors with remarkable secrecy. Two U.S. administration officials told CNN that under a potential deal, Iran would halt enriching uranium to 20% -- a key step on the path to a nuclear weapon -- and render unusable most of its existing stockpile of higher enriched uranium.

But rumors and reports swirled about possible divisions among the P5+1 countries -- with some members pushing for Iran to offer more, including a guarantee not to activate its heavy water reactor in Arak.

What ultimately spoiled an agreement remains unclear, but many Iranians took to social media to blame French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Shortly after arriving in Geneva, Fabius warned against signing a "sucker's deal" with Iran and told a French radio station: "It is necessary to take fully into account Israel's security concerns."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the proposed agreement a "bad deal for peace," and said: "Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and pays nothing."

Read more: Why U.S. and Israel are split on Iran deal

Suddenly, due to ordinary Iranians' anger with Fabius, it seemed the U.S. government was no longer public enemy number one in Tehran.

"History won't forget your hostility," Omid Mousavi wrote on the French FM's Facebook page. "We hope for Iranian and American pride and Chevrolets instead of Peugeots."

And Mohammad Reza Ghasemi wrote: "I was always respectful of people who come from France. But you have already spoiled it for me. Can you make it clear for us whether you are Foreign Minister of France or Israel?"

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif didn't mention any names but appeared to confirm on his Facebook page that the deal was blocked by a single member of the P5+1.

"The possibility of reaching an agreement with the P5 +1 existed but it was necessary for everyone to be on the same path, and you heard from public remarks from the ministers that one of the delegations had some problems," Zarif wrote on his Facebook page.

Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 are scheduled to meet again in Geneva on November 20 in another attempt to resolve a decade long dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Read more: Iranian official assassinated in Tehran

Despite their disappointment, millions of Iranians will likely tune in again for the outcome, eager for a settlement they hope will ease more than three decades of economic sanctions and political isolation from the West.

"The little wisdom I have tells me there are things happening behind closed doors that we're not aware of," says store clerk Amir Ghassemi. "But we've learned to live with hope."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT