October 11, 2010
The Iranian news agency Farsi and Western media have recently reported that Iranian officials are ready to come back to the negotiating table to discuss their nuclear program with G5 + 1 countries (USA, France, Britain, Russia, China plus Germany). According to the same sources, negotiations could begin late October or early November.
In the past, talks ended without the conclusion of an accord leading to limiting Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb. Israeli intelligence officials claim to be convinced that Iran is only a few months away from possessing enough enriched uranium to build a few nuclear bombs, and threaten to strike unilaterally at Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Israeli assessment regarding the iminence of such a development is contested by American intelligence officials, who believe that Iran will need at least another year until it can get its hands on sufficient enriched uranium to produce nuclear bombs.
The harsh UN sanctions decided last June and especially Russia’s latest decision to stop selling Iran S-300 missiles or conventional weaponry seem to have determined the government in Teheran to accept further negotiations. The pre-conditions to the negotiations vehiculated by its officials in the Western media, however, seem to indicate that Iran’s agreement to come back to the negotiating table is simply a stalling technique. If this is indeed the case, Iran opens itself up to a possible Israeli air strike against its nuclear facilities and even to a full-scale military intervention by US troops already stationed in Afghanistan.
For now, the Obama administration is still trying to use diplomacy, not military force, in order to convince Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Further shenanigans by the Teheran regime and dishonesty at the negotiating table might, however, play right into the hands of “Iran hawks” within the American administration and military. (sources: Farsi news agency, NYT, Le Monde diplomatique)