As these preparations are made, there are signs that the American position in those talks may be hardening so as to be more insistent in the demand for genuine concessions from the Iranian regime. In a speech at an awards presentation at Georgetown University on Tuesday, head US nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman declared that Iran’s position on the topic of uranium enrichment is simply unacceptable and must change for any deal to be signed. She anticipated that Iran would attempt to convince the international community to accept the status quo in terms of current stockpiles of enrichment centrifuges, and cautioned the world against succumbing to these arguments.

As if to prove her expectations correct, the National Public Radio Program, Morning Edition aired an interview with Foreign Minister Zarif early on Wednesday, in which he contradicted the Western position that not signing a deal at all would be preferable to signing one that doesn’t safeguard global interests. Zarif implied that the other negotiating powers should accept as-yet intractable Iranian positions, insisting that any deal is preferable to no deal.

Zarif also used his interview to justify the unexplained arrest of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, discounting the significance of Rezaian’s dual citizenship, and dismissing the lack of information by saying that it is enough that Rezaian and his lawyers know what he is charged with.