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Eli Lake

Where the U.S. Caved to Get Iran to Sign

Obama says Kerry held firm. But he didn't on centrifuges, enrichment or reprocessing.
All smiles.

All smiles.

Photographer: Rick Wilking/AFP/Getty Images

Now that the President Barack Obama and his administration are selling the Iran nuclear deal, they say U.S. negotiators held a firm line against Iran's last-minute push for even more concessions.  But if you compare the deal today with what was described in a White House fact sheet on the "framework" reached in April it shows that the West ceded a lot of ground to Iran in those final days in Vienna. 

In a few cases, the White House line is partially true. Iran's leaders had publicly insisted that they would forbid international inspectors any access to military sites, and its negotiators tried to get an immediate lifting of a U.N. arms embargo on conventional weapons. In both cases, Iran compromised for the final deal. But more often it was the West that backed down, and in more significant ways.