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‘A Long and Grueling Marathon’: Iran Nuclear Deal Somehow Nears Finish Line.

Russia Takes Point on Talks, Raising Alarms That Iran Will Be Given Too Much Rope.

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“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

While front pages and homepages have been dominated by the developments in Ukraine, a major news story has flown under the radar: the Iran nuclear deal. A one-time headline grabbing ink sucker itself, the story has largely been ignored and left for dead.

A little over a month ago the Wall Street Journal reported that, “Some members of the U.S. team have left or stepped back after urging a tougher approach in talks on Iran’s nuclear program,” and “among the issues that have divided the team are how firmly to enforce existing sanctions and whether to cut off negotiations…”

But now, according to a Russian envoy and reports from the State Department, the Iran nuclear deal is nearly a done deal, with all sides remaining cautiously optimistic.

“A long and grueling marathon,” Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted. “Now it is almost over.” Similar signs of progress were shared by Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s team: “We are close to a possible deal.”

“I cannot imagine that at this stage the talks might collapse,” Ulyanov told reporters. “It would be absolutely irresponsible, especially at this stage when we are actually on the finish line.”

“It is only natural to be close to the final agreement after 11 months of long and difficult talks,” Iran’s Seyed Mohammed Marandi wrote on Twitter. “However, it requires an extra effort to resolve a couple of important remaining issues, before one can say the negotiations are done. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

But one question remains: is the deal good for the U.S.? From the sound of things —no.

“The U.S. has promised to lift sanctions on some of the regime’s worst terrorists and torturers, leading officials in the regime’s WMD infrastructure, and is currently trying to lift sanctions on the IRGC Islamic Revolutionary Guard] itself,” former State Department official Gabriel Noronha wrote on Twitter, citing colleagues who are in the know.

From the Washington Examiner…

Noronha claimed that those former colleagues said the negotiations are “essentially run” by Ulyanov, a statement echoed by Iran hawks on Capitol Hill. “The Biden admin is making Russia into an international pariah except for the part where they’re having Russia run talks in Vienna aimed at dismantling sanctions against Iran and giving its Death To America regime a nuclear arsenal,” Omri Ceren, national security adviser to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, wrote on Twitter.

This appears to be Biden Administration policy: condemn Russia, but let them push us around. “Ulyanov is talking to Iranian officials about how to clear any final impediments,” the Examiner reports.

Clearing impediments has an ominous tinge to it, no?