May 26, 2005

Iran Diplomacy Watch

"Iran nuclear breakthrough? A temporary one, perhaps."

Well, yes, "temporary" is certainly one way to put it. Very temporary, I'd suspect. The bottom line is that Teheran is playing for time--whilst trying to get more concessions out of the Euro-troika to boot--and no one has any better options at present than to play along for now...

Posted by Gregory at May 26, 2005 04:35 AM | TrackBack (3)
Comments

Well, yes, "temporary" is certainly one way to put it. Very temporary, I'd suspect. The bottom line is that Teheran is playing for time--whilst trying to get more concessions out of the Euro-troika to boot--and no one has any better options at present than to play along for now...

precisely. This throws a spanner into the reported US plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities sometime in June, while allowing Iran to continue to pursue R&D on the technological issues related to nuclear weapon production.

I would suggest that this was a deliberate move by Europe to stop the US (or Israeli) attack on Iran --- and that Europe recognizes that at this point in time, the consequences of an attack on Iran are far more serious than the potential threat represented by an Iran armed with nukes.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 26, 2005 12:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If your belief were true p.lukasiak, that "this was a deliberate move by Europe to stop the US (or Israeli) attack on Iran", it would illustrate exactly why these talks are doomed to failure. Are they designed to resolve the pressing issue of Iranian nuclear weapons development or are they designed to frustrate Israel/US? Every time Europe opts for the latter, they effectively detract from their ability to achieve the former.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at May 26, 2005 04:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Are they designed to resolve the pressing issue of Iranian nuclear weapons development or are they designed to frustrate Israel/US?

I'd say they are designed to maintain stability in the Middle East (rather than to "frustrate Israel/US".) Its quite reasonable to think that an attack on Iran could lead to chaos in the Middle East --- with worldwide economic chaos as a result. Europe may be doing what it can to avoid the reaction/repercussions of an attack on Iran, and if that means turning a blind eye to a long-term, and purely theoretical, nuclear threat from Iran, its hard to argue that Europes actions are unwise.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 26, 2005 07:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How exactly is Iran developing nuclear weapons a "long-term, and purely theoretical," threat?

At what point should Europe or the US become concerned about it? My guess, from your post, is that you think that they should wait until the threat becomes a reality while paying the Iranians for their troubles in the interim...

Posted by: Sean Giovanello at May 26, 2005 09:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How exactly is Iran developing nuclear weapons a "long-term, and purely theoretical," threat?

I would suggest that Europe sees Iran developing nukes for defensive reasons --- i.e. Iran feels that the US and Israeli nuclear weapons represent a threat that can only be answered with the capacity for nuclear retaliation.

Other than right-wing paranoid fantasies, there is no reason to think that Iran is interested in military agression. And there is good reason to suspect that if things ever calm down in Iraq, Bush and his followers will target Iran for military conquest next. A nuclear weapon is really the only effective deterrent against US agression -- and its perfectly understandable that Iran would want nukes as a deterrent given what we know about the Bush regime, and the failure of the American electorate to hold its public officials accountable.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 27, 2005 12:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
And the lesson for the US government? I would start thinking a little bit harder about how to tap into all that soft power,and put some of the hard talk aside.

"Menace of the dream machine", Peter Aspden,  FT Magazine, 7 May (subscribers only).

--- http://davidp1.blogspot.com/2005/05/iranian-cds.html ---

Posted by: DavidP at May 27, 2005 03:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak is quite, quite mad. Iran is 'not interested in military agression'? Oh, sure. The daily diet of hate and bile spewed out by Iranian clerics towards Isael and the US - sanctioned by the state - gives absolutely no cause for concern. Nor does Iran's brutally repressive justice system. Or its attitude towards women, the west in general, or any of the numerous other problems associated with a butal theocracy. And these creeps want nuclear technology? Hey, what's to worry? Especially if you subscribe to that morally empty position so beloved by the anti-war left in which the million's of innocents slaughtered by eastern tyrants counts as nothing - a mere sideshow - compared to one's personal hatred of George Bush.

Fortunately, my sense of morality is still intact. The west should never, ever permit authoritarian countries to develop nuclear weapons technology. We might not be able to do much about those dictatorships that already have it (other than to warn them that they face annihilation should they ever use them against the US or its allies) but we can certainly crush those who attempt to gain it.

Posted by: not p.lukasiak at May 27, 2005 03:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg - I don't quite understand what you mean by "temporary". The EU-3 will come back in July or August with detailed proposals. In practise, as you well know, this means September. This is followed by a further round of negotiations and we carry on the merry dance.

What is notable, however, is that the US is now clearly offside if it tries to refer Iran to the UNSC. It's simply going to get batted back off the table. The IAEA is on the ground in Iran doing what it should be doing, so there's no mileage in that route, and the EU-3 have pushed that possibility back for a good 4-6 months.

It's clear that the issue of whether Iran is actually trying to make a nuclear weapon is still up in the air, and that the US has no Adlai Stephenson moment to conjure up from its back pocket. So the UNSC is never going to give the US a permission slip on sanctions, let alone bombing. And if bomb the US must, it will be a Pearl Harbour type-deal.

I think it is quite possible that the EU-3 have come to the conclusion that their number 1 priority is to prevent the US from doing anything really stupid, like bombing Iran, and that this is a motivating factor in kicking their proposals back until July/August/September. The message is implicit: don't expect any diplomatic cover from us three.

Certainly the press reports in the Telegraph and Scotsman of MoD plans to quickly redeploy most of the UK military contingent in Iraq to counter the imminent collapse of the Afghan government, premissed as they are on two factually false poles, are suggestive of this. The UK military doesn't want to be hanging around in Southern Iraq - for obvious reasons - if it happens, and have signalled a plan to move at a rapid pace if they think this is in play.

Posted by: dan at May 27, 2005 08:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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