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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deadlocked! No further meetings planned

The P 5+1 talks over Iran's nuclear program are deadlocked according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Iran and six world powers negotiating over Tehran's disputed nuclear program adjourned Tuesday after a contentious two-day session without scheduling a high-level follow-up meeting, leaving the future of the talks in doubt.

After failing to narrow their differences in five marathon meetings, the group scheduled a meeting of lower-level experts next month in Istanbul, Turkey, that will focus on technical details of both sides' proposals. The major powers might propose a resumption of high-level talks later if justified.

In the meantime, the uncertain outlook could sharpen tensions in the oil markets and heighten war worries. Israeli officials have warned that they might bomb Iran to end its nuclear program if the diplomatic effort faltered.

A senior Obama administration official, asked about the likelihood of a resumption of top-level talks, said that "these decisions have not been taken yet because we have to see how things evolve."

"We're taking this step by step and we are going to see if Iran is prepared to make the choices it needs to make," said the official, who requested anonymity, as is customary at such negotiations.
The key here isn't the jittery markets or the rising oil prices. The key here is what action - if any - will now be taken to stop Iran's nuclear program.
But in three separate meetings, starting in April, the two sides have remained far apart. That was underscored Monday when the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, lambasted an interim negotiating proposal put forward by the six powers.

"It remains clear that there are significant gaps between the substance of the two positions," the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said at a news conference.

Although the six powers have had an interest in keeping the talks going, they have also been under intense political pressure at home and from Israel not to allow the talks to continue without progress. Critics note that Iran continues to enrich uranium that it could potentially use to develop a bomb-making capability.

Last week, Israeli President Shimon Peres complained that the talks were not making sufficient progress and 44 U.S. senators wrote President Obama urging that he reconsider the talks if the Moscow meeting produced no tangible progress.
And the Times reports that the P 5+1 are now wondering - apparently for the first time - whether sanctions will ever work. If that's the case, why have we taken this long trying them?
The six powers are hoping that pressure on Iran will build at the end of this month, when a new round of European and American sanctions will take effect, further damaging its reeling economy. "The pressure on Iran will be increasing," the senior U.S. official said.

But current and former U.S. officials acknowledge that it is still unclear whether Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided he is willing to have his country endure a badly damaged economy in return for a nuclear weapons capability that would safeguard the regime's survival.

He may be willing to let Iranians "eat bark" to gain a nuclear capability, said Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former administration advisor on Iran.
Gee, ya think? And what does that tell us about whether this 'rational' regime might actually use those nuclear weapons in its possession?

And oy - what will happen to the most important thing: Obama's reelection bid? What could go wrong?

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At 9:27 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.

"It was decided that we hold an experts meeting at technical levels in Istanbul on July 3rd to discuss the proposals presented by the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany)," Ashton said at a joint press conference with Iran's top negotiator Saeed Jalili in Moscow Tuesday evening.

"Tiiiiiime is on my side"

Hope you all enjoyed the 'show'.



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