Thursday, June 01, 2006

This is hard hitting analysis of Iran talks?

Iran: The haste that Glenn Kessler takes to paint America as weak and vulnerable makes him overlook the simple explanation of Rice's proposal to Iran.

Now, in perhaps the biggest foreign policy shift of his presidency, Bush has approved the idea of sitting down at the table with the Iranian government -- one headed by a former student radical who denies the Holocaust. Attached to the U.S. offer was a stern condition: a verified suspension of Iran's nuclear enrichment operations. But the offer overturned a long-standing taboo, and it came from an administration stocked with officials who have made little secret of their desire to overthrow the government in Tehran. The administration made this move at a moment of weakness. The president's public opinion ratings are among the lowest ever recorded for a modern president, and oil prices have reached record levels, in part because of the confrontation with Iran. The high price of oil, in turn, has enriched the Iranian treasury. Iran recently announced it had learned how to achieve a key aspect of enriching uranium -- sooner than expected -- raising the stakes in the confrontation. Even so, the lingering fallout from the administration's decision to attack Iraq has made it increasingly difficult to win the support for sanctions on Iran from critical nations such as Russia and China.
Even the Wash Post editorial board realizes this move is not of weakness but a gotcha ploy.
THE BUSH administration's offer yesterday to join negotiations with Iran was well tailored. By stating its readiness to join the European governments that have been negotiating with Tehran for several years, the administration may have defused an issue that was impeding its effort to win support for U.N. sanctions against Iran. Its concession was merely to acknowledge the reality that any enduring settlement of the Iranian nuclear threat will require direct U.S. participation. Yet the administration rightly insisted that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing before any talks including the United States begin, and it linked its offer to a carrot-and-stick package of incentives and sanctions that would be presented to Iran in the coming days with the support of the Europeans and, possibly, China and Russia. The packaging means that Iran won't achieve the symbolic breakthrough of talks with the United States -- something its regime and public deeply desire -- unless it suspends its nuclear work. If Iran rejects the offer, which will also include economic incentives, the result should be the passage of a Security Council resolution opening the way to sanctions. Crucially, European governments, and possibly Russia and China, will agree on the sanctions to be imposed even before the offer is made.
JA Post picks up on the plan as well.
Washington delivered its invitation to Iran with a fair amount of mistrust and criticism. At her State Department press conference, Rice made no effort to express much hope that something would come out of talks with Iran. She said the offer was "an opportunity for the world to clarify Iran's intentions. And it's an opportunity for Iran to make its intentions clear." Asked what was unclear about Teheran's intentions, Rice said she thought most of the evidence showed that Iran did not intend to comply with the demands of the international community. But still, for the US it is now a win-win situation. If Iran surprises the world and declares it accepts the conditions and is willing to discuss the package offered by the US and Europe, it will be seen as a huge victory for American diplomacy. On the other hand, if - as expected - Iran doesn't comply with the demand to stop nuclear enrichment, the US will be able to tell the world that it went the extra mile and that it is now time to take action.
Even the far lefty Simon Tisdall at the Guardian realizes what is going on here which is calling out Iran and its enablers like the IAEA's Mohamed ElBaradei.
Despite the president's anti-western and anti-Israeli rhetoric, Iran has repeatedly offered to hold talks with the US. By conceding Iran's right to civilian nuclear energy and dangling a wide range of incentives, Ms Rice has called Mr Ahmadinejad's bluff. If, after serious consideration, Iran formally rejects the offer and the accompanying carrots-and-sticks package to be finalised in Vienna today, the US will be able to say that it has tried its best. And western nations, plus Russia and China, will almost certainly agree. They will be much more likely to unite behind Washington in seeking coercive UN security council action against Tehran. Ms Rice will have achieved her "coalition of the willing". If Iran accepts, then long and difficult negotiations will lie ahead with no guarantee of success. But a third war in the Middle East in almost as many years may have been avoided, at least for now; Iranians will face the prospect of reintegration into the international community after decades of ostracism; and a historic corner will, just possibly, have been turned.

The first response out of Iran is the deal stinks and nothing but a show which is to be expected. Anything less than letting Iran do what it wants to do woul d be a loss after all this time for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If they refuse, America turns to the coalition of the soft diplomacy( EU3) shrug its shoulders and say we tried it your way.

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