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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Low Expectations of the Iran Talks

It was only a week ago that President Obama stood with President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Brown as each of the three in very sober terms first detailed the discovery of a secret nuclear site and then called this a "moment of truth" for Iran. A week later the Security Council plus Germany is currently meeting with Iran. Iran has stated that these talks won't include their nuclear program. The U.S. promises to confront Iran on the program anyway. Even the most promising prognostication for these talks believe that they will lead to more talks. The Obama administration itself says that even if Iran doesn't immediately halt their nuclear ambitions that won't immediately lead to sanctions. In fact, even if Iran doesn't allow the IAEA to visit its newly discovered site, the administration won't immediately seek sanctions. Instead, the administration wants to give Iran until the end of the year until they try and impose sanctions. Frankly, their hands would be tied anyway. Russia has said that sanctions would currently be unhelpful, and China has indicated much the same. Without them, there are no UN sactions. There are of course other ways to impose sanctions but there hasn't been a president nearly creative enough for such things in decades.

So, instead, the sides met. There was a breakthrough. The multi party talks lead directly to direct U.S./Iran talks.

The U.S. and Iran had significant talks on Tehran's nuclear program in a rare one-on-one meeting Thursday.

William Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state, and Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, held the bilateral discussion in a sign of President Obama's commitment to engage the Islamic Republicn directly on nuclear and other issues, a sharp break with the previous Bush administration.

Diplomats and officials disclosed no details of the meeting but said ahead of the Geneva negotiations that such an encounter was possible, if Burns decided it would move along U.S. objectives.


The outcome of this meeting is not yet known, but no one is expecting much. If you didn't know that the substance of all of this was a ruthless nation on the brink of a nuclear weapon, you might think that the two sides are talking about a merger or labor and management are discussing a new contract. The kind of expectations and language we have from these meetings is fitting the negotiation of a potential merger or labor contract more than it is a ruthless country on the brink of a nuclear weapon.

In reality, if these lead diplomats to say that progress has been made and both sides have agreed to meet again, that is a huge victory for Iran. Iran has a limited amount of time, three months, six months, a year, and likely no more. At that point, they will have a nuclear weapon. Having talks go on in which the only tangible progress is more talks is perfect from their side. Iran is simply looking to run out the clock until a weapon is created. These talks are perfect. Iran would love to meet with the entire Security Council and then meet with each country separately. They only need to do that two or three times and their nuclear weapon will be created.

These talks are a farce. All talks with Iran are a farce. The leaders of Iran believe it is their religious duty to destroy the Jews. A nuclear weapon is the best way to do that. The only way they'll give up their weapons is if they have to. If their economy is halted and their citizens are on the brink of revolt, they may give them up. They aren't going to give them up because our diplomats make a strong case for giving them up. We are dealing with religious extremists that believe it is their holy duty to destroy Israel. The West simply refuses to acknowledge their religious and philosophical beliefs. Those aren't going to be reversed by talking. It will only be stopped by all out war or diplomatic pressure so strong that it leads to an internal revolt. That's it. The sooner we realize the better.

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