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Kerry’s Plane Breaks Down at Broken Down Nuclear Talks

Surely this is a metaphor for something. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Vienna for talks aimed at ending the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, was forced to fly commercial back to Washington after his Air Force jet was grounded because of a problem with its fuel tank. Iran and Western negotiators were attempting to ...

-/AFP/Getty Images
-/AFP/Getty Images

Surely this is a metaphor for something. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Vienna for talks aimed at ending the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, was forced to fly commercial back to Washington after his Air Force jet was grounded because of a problem with its fuel tank.

Iran and Western negotiators were attempting to advance nuclear talks that are deadlocked over disagreements about the number of centrifuges Iran will be allowed to maintain. Disagreements regarding research reactors and other facilities remain as well. It is unclear whether the issues can be resolved before the Nov. 24 deadline to reach a permanent agreement to govern Iran’s nuclear program.

If a deal cannot be brokered, Western financial sanctions against Iran that have already devastated the country’s airline industry, among others, will likely resume. So it is a sweet irony for Iranian diplomats that Kerry was forced to suffer the indignity of flying commercial. "So it is not just our planes," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif joked to al-Monitor.

Meanwhile, the White House announced that Kerry will lead the U.S. delegation to the Oct. 20 inauguration of Joko Widodo as the president of Indonesia.

Hopefully his plane will be fixed by then.

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @EliasGroll

Tag: Iran

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