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Iran And “Negotiating 101”

As the NY Times reports today in an article about Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke’s trip to the Middle Eastern region:

Mr. Obama has said that he will reach out to Iran for direct talks, and last week the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that Iran was ready. The two nations have not spoken directly since the Islamic Revolution in Iran 30 years ago.

So how does one begin that sort of a dialog when the target of the talks sees any concession as a sign of weakness and views your chief ally in the region as a cancer which needs to be excised?

As discussed during the presidential primary and then during the campaign, what you don’t do is enter such discussions without some established preconditions. And you certainly don’t unilaterally concede anything, especially if such a concession would help speed Iran’s production of a nuclear weapon.

That’s why this report from the open source intelligence newsletter GeoStrategy Direct is rather disturbing. Speaking of the new Israeli government, it writes:

Just as Barack Obama entered office facing a massive economic crisis beyond the scope of his experience, likewise the new Israeli leader will have to make or delay making difficult strategic decisions from the minute he or she enters office.

Barak has already signaled what the new government can expect, officials here said.

The United States has abandoned its policy of sanctioning companies that aid Iran’s nuclear and missile program, they said.

The officials said the new Obama administration of has decided to end sanctions against Iranian government agencies or companies that aid Teheran’s missile and nuclear program. The officials said Israel has been informed of the new U.S. policy.

“We were told that sanctions do not help the new U.S. policy of dialogue with Iran,” an official said.

Barak confirmed the new U.S. policy. In an address to the Herzliya Conference on Feb. 3, Barak said Washington did not say whether it would resume sanctions against Iran.

“Barak”, of course, is Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. And, if true, you might imagine he and Israel are less than pleased. Trying to put a positive face on it Barak says:

“We must arrive at a strategic understanding with the United States over Iran’s military nuclear program and ensure that even if at this time they opt for the diplomatic option, it will only last a short time before harsh and necessary sanctions are imposed.”

Indeed. The stated reason for the lifting of the sanctions is they’ve been unsuccessful in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Unasked, however, is how successful they’ve been in delaying their acquisition? The removal of sanctions and the removal of all negative consequences for companies who supply such technology will certainly provide the incentive necessary for those companies to speed that pursuit along, won’t it?

How will the unilateral lifting of sanctions be viewed by Iran?

Well consider the internal politics of the country.  You have an increasingly unpopular president under fire for his aggressive rhetoric and posture being challenged by a more moderate candidate.  You also have a population that is growing tired of its isolation and the hardships imposed by sanctions. And there are rumors the ruling mullahs may not be particularly pleased with him either.  Pressure is building against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and some believe there is a distinct possibility that he can be defeated in June.

Suddenly, without any direct negotiations or concessions on the part of Iran, sanctions are lifted by the US.  It seems to me Ahmadinejad could make a credible claim that his posture is responsible for the US caving and lifting the sanctions.  He can claim, regardless of the truth of the claim, that his confrontational attitude is what brought the change.  The message? The US is weak and confrontation works, reelect me.

And in the real world, results speak for themselves.


More aggressive and belligerent language, a campaign boost to a declared enemy of the US, faster realization of nuclear weapons for Iran, heightened tensions with Israel (not only from Iran but with the US), and a deteriorating situation in the Middle East.  All that from a guy who says one of his signature issues is nuclear nonproliferation.

Go figure.


[HT: Gateway Pundit]

12 Responses to Iran And “Negotiating 101”

  • You mean a Democrat president (one with Muslim roots, as he readily admitted in his arab press interview) is throwing Israel under the bus? Who’da thunk it

  • Assuming the GeoStrategy Direct information is correct, this signals that POTUS Obama is the biggest jackass to ever be elected POTUS in US history.  This ought to put him in a real special place as he seems bent on displacing Jimmy Carter, who has held the “biggest jackass” position for nearly 3 decades.

  • Ah, unilateral concessions to strenuously assert our good will!  Those always work!

  • I’d say that the Obama administration has been amateurish in its foreign policy, but even amateurs aren’t this stupid.

  • Assuming that the Geostrategy information is correct, could somebody please offer a reason why TAO would do this that doesn’t assume that he is (A) a closet Muslim and / or (B) a total idiot?

    I’m waiting now for a couple of things:

    1.  Libs to tell us that Iran, even with nukes, doesn’t present an “existential threat” to the United States, and;

    2.  Iran to give a nuke to a terrorist group to use against Israel or the United States.

    Let’s assume the nightmare occurs: an islamofascist terrorist group explodes a nuke in a US city and threatens to explode more if we don’t meet their demands.  What then?

    O’ course, this will make libs happy because:

    1.  The resulting economic decline will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the planet;

    2.  It will be the end of the US as a hyperpower;

    3.  It will be some measure of payback for all the nasty acts of US imperialism, dating back to the Crusades, that they say we have to atone for;

    4.  It will be something else they can blame on Bush.

  • Finally, someone has the courage and the wisdom to turn their backs upon the failed policies of the last three decades!

    This is the course the US SHOULD have been following thirty years ago, and we would have if the Sainted One, Jim-muh the Blessed could have had his way. Instead the Imperial War Machine forced Jim-muh to attempt that horrid Nazi-Like Aggression, launched by our hired killers, in 1980….

    and then, that MAN Ronald Ray-gun got elected, certainly over my vote and all the votes of the fuzzy sweater lobby and he turned US policy irretrievably shifted towards violence and imperialism.

    The end result of which has seen the inevitable bankruptcy and decline of the US, leaving the Iranians, as they rightfully should be, the arbiters of their own fate, and the fates of 60% of the worlds crude and a large percentage of its Jews, too.

    Now you dense righties, with your shriveled manhoods, may not understand this, lacking the All Seeing Eye of Political Science to guide you, or like it, being militaristic boobs committed to our incredibly and unspeakably aggressive and violent troops, but this IS the future. Now, at last, diplomacy and negotiation can flower in the region and relations can grow and prosper.

  • Remember when Erb said that Obama’s new foreign policy would be so much better than Bush’s?

    Yeah, I didn’t believe him, either.

  • I am sure Iran will frantically place their orders for what they need. Then they will negotiate in good faith until those shipments are on the water, then suddenly they will become more recalcitrant.

  • G0ood luck negotiating with Iran.  The Unites States is the pot that needs stirred up by the Supreme leader and Council of Guardians to keep them in power.  They need the United States to keep them on the perch of power. Obama is more than naive when talking about Iran. Actually, worse than Jimmy Carter. The US and Iran are going to be at loggerheads at least another generation; that is, until the Iranian people take their government and country back from a bunch of religious zealots. After 30 years they still bask in the glory from the humilitation they put the US through in 1979-81. Most of the younger staff members in the Obama adminstration weren’t even born when the “hostage crisis” took place and, hence, have no recall of that period in time. Before any normalization takes places, Iran will have to take the first step, not the United States.

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana