I imagine it’s going to be a bit tough for Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to conduct controversial nuclear negotiations if this is what happens when he gets bad press:
The hardline newspaper Kayhan said on Tuesday that Zarif had told a closed-door session of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee that Rouhani’s conversation with Obama had been a mistake, as had the length of Zarif’s own private meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
An infuriated Zarif denied saying any such thing, and said the newspaper report had affected him physically.
“This morning, after seeing the headline of one newspaper, I got severe back and leg pain. I couldn’t even walk or sit,” he wrote on his Facebook page late on Tuesday.
Cancelling several engagements, Zarif decided to rest at the ministry and held meetings with deputies “while resting”.
Doctors apparently told Zarif that his problem can be solved through exercise. Heading into next week’s talks in Geneva, let’s hope that’s true.
Zarif is reportedly planning to offer a deal under which Iran would halt the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium and open nuclear facilities to more intrusive inspections. Whether or not Western countries take the deal, the coverage is likely to get a lot nastier.