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Iran: Ready for "serious negotiations"
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hard to take that line seriously when the thing they've made non-negotiable is what the rest of the world is demanding - stop the enrichment of uranium.

So now what? If that is the crux of the issue, and the Iranians have removed it as a negotiable item, what is there to get serious about?

Reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution this morning I ran across this:
"Iran's response indicates the balance has tipped in favor of more moderate voices in Iranian politics seeking a modus vivendi with U.S. power" in the region, said Kaveh Afrasiabi, an Iranian policy analyst who authored several books on the country's nuclear program.
Really? I'm really gratified to hear that, but color me unconvinced.

Let's see, in the previous few days Iran has refused to let inspectors inspect and now is refusing to consider a halt in uranium enrichment and we're supposed to believe that "moderate voices" have not come to the fore in Iran?

Interesting.

However given Iran's expected intransigence (it would be hard for me to believe that any diplomat involved in this process believed this would turn out any other way) how will the world react?

Enter the Lebanon crisis (and a lesson in interconnectiveness). In the NYT, discussing the possiblity now of voting for and passing a resolution on the UN's Security Council, the problem emerges as a possible show stopper:
That will not be easy, in part because the entire United Nations Security Council is supposed to vote on the sanctions package. While only the permanent members can veto, the rising fear, particularly among European diplomats, is that smaller countries on the Council are so angry over how the United States, and now France, have handled the Lebanon crisis that they will give Russia and China political cover to balk against imposing tough sanctions.
China and Russia have only been fairweather friends in this process to begin with and I don't think it would take much for them to find a way out of backing sanctions. If an excuse is necessary to back out, Lebanon will probably do as well as any.

Apparently agreeable to weak sanctions which would be hard to enforce, neither country is apparently amenable to sanctions which might actually cause Iran to comply. The reason? Follow the money:
What is more, China and Russia both have energy companies invested in Iran, and they, along with European countries, would likely think hard before agreeing to prohibit the purchase of Iranian oil or to limit investment in Iran’s petroleum industry.
Prohibiting the purchase of Iranian oil is about the only hammer the rest of the world has on that country. When you're a country invested in Iran and have a veto on the UN Security Council, chances are you're not likely to vote to hurt yourself.

And, of course, any disruption in the flow of oil (as we've seen with a simple pipeline shut down in Alaska) sees the price of oil skyrocket. Imagine an embargo of Iranian oil and the effect that would have. It might hurt the West worse than Iran.

So I again ask, now what? Do we have any choice, in reality, but to play the game, pretend to take them at their word and enter "serious negotiations" with them in hope of somehow pulling off a diplomatic coup and actually making progress toward shutting down their enrichment program (at best, highly unlikely)? Or do we try to use the blunt stick of sanctions, something which will probably hurt us as much as them (and something which some of the world views with little favor)?

I don't see a particular position of strength available to the West or the UN which gives them the upper hand here. Frankly it appears Iran has everyone over an oil barrel.

And, of course, the final, unspoken option appears not to really be an option at all, and I'm sure Iran knows that:
While there is no talk among the world powers right now about hitting Iran militarily, European diplomats in particular said they worried about a downward spiral if the sanctions did not work. “They’ve been dragged into three wars over there by the U.S.,” Mr. Parsi said, referring to Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. “They don’t want a fourth.”
Lovely.

So for the final time I ask: now what?
 
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While there is no talk among the world powers right now about hitting Iran militarily, European diplomats in particular said they worried about a downward spiral if the sanctions did not work. "They’ve been dragged into three wars over there by the U.S.," Mr. Parsi said, referring to Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. "They don’t want a fourth."
This sounds to me like a pretty standard posture for the Europeans. Let’s translate it thusly:

"We don’t have the military capability or the will to actually make Iran do anything. Therefore all we can do it fret about it, until the day comes that they hand us a fait accompli by having finished nuclear weapons. Then we’ll sit around for a while and bemoan how much more dangerous the world has become and find some way to blame it on the US. But we’ll be secretly relieved that we don’t have to think about actually, you know, doing something, because everyone would then agree than it would be too dangerous."

Or am I being too cynical?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
One might have thought that a UNSC resolution was an end to negotiations rather than the opening offer. You learn something every day.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I don’t know why they bother to call them resolutions. There’s never any actual resolve involved.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
now what?

* shrug * Monitor their weapons program remotely as best as possible, and if it looks like they’re making progress in building a nuke, take their facilities out.

Yes, it will inflame the Middle East (and most of the U. S.’s allies), but it’s a lot more expedient and a lot less costly than "regime change".

I mean, what else are you going to do? Beg the UN to pull their thumbs out of their butts and do something? Invade Iran?

Just keep tabs on their nuke program. It’s the only sane option I can think of.
 
Written By: Brian Martinez
URL: http://cluebyfour.livejournal.com
Hey,

Why doesn’t the US try negotiating one-on-one with them?


;-)
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Why doesn’t the US try negotiating one-on-one with them?

Maybe because we have no diplomatic relations, and they think we are the "great Satan"?

Lets see how those negotiations might go:
USA: Uhmm, we don’t want you to enrich Uranium, we will give you money if you stop.

Iran: Fark you

USA: we need you to stop

Iran: Fark you Infidel Pig

USA: Look, we might have to take action

Iran: DURKA DURKA JIHAD!!!!
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Monitor their weapons program remotely as best as possible, and if it looks like they’re making progress in building a nuke, take their facilities out.
Only if we also take out the government and the mullahs at the same time.
Wait till they have one of their big meetings and take out the entire government.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
This is almost as funny as the headline on CNN "France: ’Now or never’ for Iran"
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
Only if we also take out the government and the mullahs at the same time.
Wait till they have one of their big meetings and take out the entire government.


just drop a nuke on the nuke facility and pretend they blew themselves up
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
kyleN,

There’s a history here.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Yes, they’ll negotiate anything but what matters. Meanwhile, the nuclearization continues. This is a very dangerous game we’re in with Iran.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
maybe it’s a good thing we aren’t negotiating with Iran.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
FUnny how people just have so many opinions on Iran but little ACTUAL knowledge!


1- Iran’s response to the US/EU offer legitimately asks for more details on offers that are too vague to be taken seriously
http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=1018

2- The US encouraged Iran’s nuclear program:
See "Past Arguments Don’t Square With Current Iran Policy" Washington
Post Mar 27 2005
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3983-2005Mar26.html)

3- Iran has a legitimate case for needing nuclear energy
"Forced to Fuel: Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program." by Dr. Muhammad
Sahimi, Harvard International Review,
(http://hir.harvard.edu/articles/1294/)
and
See "The fuel behind Iran’s nuclear drive" by David Isenberg, Asia
Times (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GH24Ak02.html)


4- Iran had not "hidden" its nuclear program until the US prevented
Iran from acquiring its technology openly in cooperation with the IAEA and other countries.
See "Iran needs nuclear energy, not weapons" Le Monde diplomatique, Nov
2005
(http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:Wv7d_FdiMH0J:mondediplo.com/2005/...)


5- Iran has repeatedly made offers of compromises that would resolve
any REAL concern about nuclear proliferation, only to see serious offer of negotiation being dismissed without any consideration

See "We Don’t Need This Quarrel"
www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/05/opinion/edzarif.php
and
http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Iran_Nuclear_Proposals.asp

 
Written By: hass
URL: http://
Just because their president seriously mumbles "death to Israel" in almost the same sentence as "we need nuke power" is no cause for concern.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
2- The US encouraged Iran’s nuclear program:
See "Past Arguments Don’t Square With Current Iran Policy" Washington
Post Mar 27 2005
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3983-2005Mar26.htm

Are you even remotely serious?
Citing data from 30 years ago?

Why not cite data 30 years old on how we ought to be handling the Russians NOW too?
Or China?
Or Vietnam?

This paragraph covers the differences that negate the relevance of 30 year old views:
The shah made a big convincing case that Iran was going to run out of gas and oil and they had a growing population and a rapidly increasing demand for energy," Sick said. "The mullahs make the same argument today, but we don’t trust them."
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

 
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