Sunday, October 21, 2012

Iran agrees to one-on-one talks with U.S. according to report


According to U.S. officials, Iran and the U.S. have agreed to one-on-one negotiations. The talks on Iran's nuclear program will take place immediately after the U.S. election the officials told the New York Times.
The Iranian officials claim that the talks should take place only after the elections since they want to know which president they will be dealing with.
Just a few hours after the article appeared on the New York Times website, the Obama administration denied the report. Many regard the Times as at times acting as a conduit for information the White House wants released to the public. However, on this report, National Security Council Spokesperson said: ”It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections."
If the Times report is true, the agreement must have been reached after secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials. Ahmadinejad has been pressing for a negotiated solution to the crisis, as indicated in the interview in the appended video. Romney has taken an even more hard line stance on Iran than Obama. If Romney wins, it is not at all clear there would be any talks.
Earlier talks have failed. I think that the U.S. would prefer regime change in Iran rather than a negotiated solution with the present government. At one time, Iran finally agreed to halt 20 per cent enrichment in return for foreign-made fuel rods, after Brazil and Turkey entered talks, but then the Obama administration rejected the proposal and moved on to use sanctions against Iran.
The Iranian side has been subject to constant threats of attack, crippling sanctions, sabotage, and assassinations of scientists. As Harvard professor Stephen Walt notes, the Iranian leadership “has good grounds for viewing Obama as inherently untrustworthy.” Former CIA analyst, Paul Pillar, puts the matter more bluntly. He maintains that the main Western interest is regime change in Iran.
The Times article may be designed to picture Obama as nearing a deal with Iran. He simply needs another term to complete the task. However, Republicans could jump on the announcement and picture Iran as pulling the wool over Obama's eyes to buy time so that it can further advance towards being able to produce nuclear weapons.
Iran wants to tie the nuclear talks with other issues according to the Times article. However the administration wants the talks to be on the nuclear issue alone. The prospects of talks are a problem for Romney as well. If he opposes talks, he could be accused of taking the U.S. towards another war at a time when probably most Americans consider that problems on the domestic front should be of first concern, not costly foreign wars.
Iran is probably anxious for a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue and the easing of sanctions, The Iranian economy is suffering as a result of sanctions and the currency is reaching new lows. The situation is bad enough to cause public protests against the regime.

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