December 03, 2007

Back to Square 1 in Negotiations Over Iran's Nuclear Program?

While there could be more going on here than meets the eye given the intricacies of Iranian politics, the New York Times sure doesn't show us that. In fact, it's just the opposite. They paint this turn as bleak and definitive.

In a sign that Iran has hardened its position on its nuclear program, its new nuclear negotiator said in talks in London on Friday that all proposals made in past negotiations were irrelevant and that further discussion of a curb on Iran’s uranium enrichment was unnecessary, senior officials briefed on the meeting said ...

When Mr. Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said that he was under the assumption that there would be continuity in the talks, Mr. Jalili told him that was wrong.

After the meeting, Mr. Solana abandoned his habitual optimistic stance, telling reporters that he was "disappointed."

The French official described the meeting as "a disaster," adding "Jalili essentially said, 'Everything that Larijani has proposed is a dead letter and we have to start from zero.'"

The official also said that Mr. Jalili had declared, "There is no longer an Iranian nuclear problem," and had added that the only interlocutor recognized by Iran from now on would be the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The hard-line position from the Iranian side was clear confirmation that Iran would not compromise on this issue, the French official said, adding, "We have in front of us the real Iran."

An official involved in the talks put it even more bluntly, saying, "We can’t do business with these guys at this point."

Over at his blog Ezra Klein is suggesting it would be a good time to put the presidential candidates on the record as to what they'd do if an Iranian nuclear weapons program couldn't be negotiated away. He might very well be right.

Posted by armand at December 3, 2007 09:53 AM | TrackBack | Posted to International Affairs

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