President Obama seems to have been unduly optimistic in triumphantly proclaiming the success of the P5+1 talks with Iran in Lausanne.
Speaking from the White House President Obama announced:
Today, the United States - together with our allies and partners - has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
There was only “an understanding” – not even a piece of paper initialled by representatives of all the parties to the long and complex negotiations - that President Obama could wave to the waiting media setting out what that “understanding” was.
It did not take long to discover the reason explaining the absence of such an initialled document.
It turns out there are in fact two pieces of paper – one prepared by each side – but neither signed or agreed to by the other:
1. Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program
2. Iranian Fact Sheet on the Nuclear Negotiations which was only published in Farsi – but has been subsequently translated into English - for which there does not appear to be an official Iranian Government translation.
The first and simplest question one needs to ask is – in what language will the final authorised version of the agreement be actually framed?
Will it be English or Farsi or both?
Can the nuances of language be properly translated so that their meaning is absolutely identical in both versions? Which will prevail if there are inconsistencies or disputes?
Was this very basic issue even addressed at the Lausanne negotiations? No mention of it appears in either of the above documents.
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