Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday that the United States has lost its edge going into the final days of a nuclear negotiation with Iran.
“I would actually fear that the Iranians have the upper hand right now,” Hayden said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I actually fear we have painted ourselves into a corner where we believe that any deal is better than no deal at the present time.”
Hayden said the framework of the deal doesn’t go far enough in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear arsenal in the future.
On Sunday, U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News that world powers meeting in Vienna to hammer out the nuclear deal will miss their June 30 deadline.
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif’s returned home for consultations on Sunday. Zarif is expected to return to Vienna to join counterparts from other countries at the negotiating table to push for a breakthrough on the talks.
U.S. officials said they are “unconcerned” about the pace of talks and that Zarif’s trip home had been scheduled in advance.
However, several media outlets noted that the fact Zarif was leaving the talks so close to the deadline showed he needed permission to proceed with several issues tied to the talks, including how much access Tehran should give U.S. investigators monitoring Iran’s compliance to any deal.
It’s a sticking point that the U.S. and other powers cannot afford to negotiate, Hayden said.
“We need the ability to go places,” he said.
Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain are aiding the U.S. in diplomatic discussions.
The dispute over access surfaced again Sunday, with Iranian Gen. Masoud Jazayeri saying that any inspection by foreigners of Iran’s military centers is prohibited.
He said the attempt by the U.S. and its allies to “obtain Iran’s military information for years … by the pressure of sanctions” will not succeed.
But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who joined the talks Friday, said Iran’s “nuclear activities, no matter where they take place,” must be verifiable.
Read more: Fox News