Friendly Leaks

Update below.

Helen Cooper and Mark Landler of the New York Times (NYT) want to know that, as result of intense and secret exchanges of American and Iranian officials for almost four years (!), both sides have agreed on one-on-one negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program. That’s what unnamed U.S. administration officials say.

Apart from talks being overdue, the new leaks to NYT’s David Sanger and his team have obviously an agenda (as the previous had).

“It [the agreement] has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time,”

as Cooper and Landler write. Likewise unnamed “Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election.” Anyway, while, according to the NYT the White House immediately has denied a final agreement, Tehran has not mentioned the “breakthrough” yet.

Cooper and Landler stress again that it was Iran shunning any bilateral talks in the previous years.

“For years, Iran has rejected one-on-one talks with the United States, reflecting what experts say are internal power struggles. A key tug of war is between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani, Iran’s former nuclear negotiator and now the chairman of the Parliament.

Iran, which views its nuclear program as a vital national interest, has also shied away from direct negotiations because the ruling mullahs did not want to appear as if they were sitting down with a country they have long demonized as the Great Satan.”

But for the record. Obama’s overture in the beginning of 2009 had in fact reached Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei when he responded in his largely misreported (in the West) Nowruz speech in Mashhad,

“We do not have any experience with the new US President and Government. We shall see and judge. You change, and we shall change as well. If you do not change, our people became more and more experienced, stronger, and more patient in the past 30 years.”

So, what has Khamenei experienced in the four years of Obama’s first term? Not really condemned assassinations of some of Iran’s nuclear scientists and sabotage of its nuclear facilities (ordered by whatever secret service), a new dimension of cyberwar, and the promised crippling sanctions which are meant to bring the country to its knees (and it probably has). And last but not least permanent threats by Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, something what is only considered inappropriate at the moment because of Mr. Obama’s election campaign.

The real intention for all this is no longer Iran’s nuclear program (if it ever has been. Intelligence communities in both the US and Israel consistently agree for years that Iran has not even made a decision to develop nucear weapons). It is regime change at any cost. So, for any Iranian, another overture by Obama would be irrelevant. If he wins the elction, it will be his last term and he could further tighten the screws on Iran, even assist Israel in a military attack. If Mitt Romney wins, well, it might even come worse. The regime in Tehran has soon to prepare for their own presidential elections which will put it at new risks especially in times of the dire economic situation. This seems not to be the time for breakthroughs after negotiations.

21 October 2012 @ 9:32 am

Update. Either side denied straightaway that one-on-one negotiations between the two adversaries are planned, be it before or after the American presidential election.

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