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A Kinder Gentler Nuclear Dead End

At a UN press conference in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters, “constructive statements and approaches had “paved the way for creating a new sort of atmosphere,” in talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

Sure, but “constructive” toward what end? And creating what sort of new atmosphere? From Tehran’s side of things, the recent European offer is splendid news. The incentive package gives Iran everything they want: legitimacy and time. Mottaki doesn’t regard such overtures as precursors toward actual negotiation. As he said, he’s happy that the mood has changed, because the mood was the one last thing that wasn’t going Tehran’s way. Now, he can pretend to mull over offers and cast Tehran as a reasonable player, while the centrifuges spin away.

On behalf of several nations, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana gave Tehran the incentive offer on June 14 and yesterday Mottaki said, “Very soon I will respond to the letter given to me by the six foreign ministers.”

Mottaki said he’s confident that neither the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran at least through January. Feeling no pressure and being courted like a reasonable party, Tehran is sure to answer with another mushy time-buyer. And the press is sure to lap it up as a sign of progress.


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