As Secretary of State John Kerry pulls all-nighters in Switzerland, some reasonable advice over the drawn-out negotiations with Iran comes from Sen. Claire McCaskill: patience, please.
And now that word has arrived that the outline of an agreement might have been reached, her words take on even more significance.
McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat, was in Kansas City this week on a statewide tour to hear from senior citizens. After her talk at the Don Bosco Senior Citizens Center, she took a few moments to be surrounded by microphones from the press.
On Iran: “I’ve tried to be respectful of the fact that this is a multi-national negotiation and it is not just the United States and Iran that’re at the table, but important allies of ours are also at the table — important partners we have for world peace. I think that we’ve got to wait and see if there is an agreement....The most important part of any agreement, to me, is how verifiable it is. If there is a breakout, how quickly can we take action, and how will we know when there is a breakout?
“Those are the details that are going to make a difference to me as to whether or not it’s acceptable or not. It will not be acceptable to me if it is not verifiable with clear, clear lines of when a breakout has occurred and what happens. That’s what I’ll be looking for.
“But until we see it, I think nothing’s been more irresponsible than saying it’s terrible before we know what it is.
The negotiations — past yet another deadline and sparking distrust and cynicism far and wide — aim to convince Iran to reel back its nuclear research in exchange for loosening of economic sanctions. The hangups appear to be over how much and how fast on both sides of the equation. What was worked out on Thursday remains to be seen, but a final round of negotiations to hammer out details faces a deadline of the end of June.
Complicating the context for these negotiations, of course, are the current violent eruptions in the Middle East — Iraq, Syria, Yemen, for instance — which find Iran’s Shiite proxies fighting alternatively for and against U.S. interests.
Some had reported that the U.S. was on the verge of walking away, if more progress on the talks couldn’t be made on Thursday.