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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Iran wins!

Late last night, Iran and the P 5+1 decided to 'stop the clock' to allow 'negotiations' to continue beyond midnight on March 31. While US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently meeting with Iranian chief negotiator Javad Zarif, the bottom line is, according to Bloomberg's Eli Lake, that Iran has already won.
With a final announcement due any moment from negotiations over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran appears to be doing quite well for itself.  
After all, before the real negotiations began, Iran won vague recognition -- from the U.S. and five other great powers -- that it has a right to enrich uranium. Between 2008 and 2012, the United Nations Security Council passed five resolutions sanctioning Tehran for violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by operating centrifuges at facilities it had not bothered to tell the International Atomic Energy Agency about. 
Now, if press leaks turn out to be correct, Iran is on the brink of securing an agreement to allow it to keep thousands of those centrifuges, and also to operate its laboratory at Fordow, a facility burrowed deep into a mountain for the production of what Zarif assures us are medical isotopes. When U.S. spies smoked out that facility in 2009, Obama demanded that Iran come clean about all of its past nuclear activities. Last week, the IAEA reported that Iran continues to stonewall the agency on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program before 2003. 
Zarif's ability to negotiate concessions despite Iran's shaky past would be impressive enough for any foreign minister. But consider that he was able to do so even as his bosses in Tehran waged a successful proxy war against Western allies throughout the Middle East. In Yemen, a pro-American government fell this month to Iranian backed Houthi fighters, and prompted Saudi Arabia to launch an air war to beat them back. In Syria, Iranian support has been vital to the survival of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator Obama used to say had to go.
How does Zarif do it?
Read the whole thing.  Part of how Zarif does it is the milquetoast negotiating style of Kerry and Obama, who have overdosed on seeing these negotiations from the Iranian point of view.

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