Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN UPDATE....Via Dan Drezner, Time's Tony Karon reports some modestly encouraging news on the Iran front:

A senior former Iranian diplomat was reported Tuesday as revealing that [Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali] Larijani had been given "authority for compromise" by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. As Iran's leaders reportedly grow increasingly concerned about a confrontation with the U.S. and subjecting their troubled economy to the added pressure of sanctions, the search for a formula that would allow both sides to stand down has become more urgent.

....The U.S. had originally insisted that Iran could not be allowed to keep any enrichment facilities on its own soil, but it is now being reported that Solana may offer a deal in which Iran would keep its current small-scale enrichment research facility, although not actually run it, for now. Reports suggest that the U.S. will push for the Natanz facility to revert to "cold standby," i.e. turning off but not dismantling the centrifuges, whereas Iran would counter that they be kept spinning, although empty of uranium.

The very fact that the negotiations are focused on such details of a mutually acceptable formula for defining what is meant by "suspension" of Iran's activities suggests that the current trend in the nuclear talks is towards compromise, rather than confrontation.

Stay tuned. This sounds fairly speculative, but still better than anything we've heard before. Maybe a deal can be struck after all.

Kevin Drum 11:02 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

Gasp. Not... the... diplomacy!?

Posted by: Kenji on April 26, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Diplomacy, we don't do diplomacy.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

They want to keep the cetrifuges spinning without Uranium? What would be the point? Certainly they would have to stop and then restart them if they ever wanted to load in the Uranium? I don't see why keeping them spinning is such a big deal.

Posted by: Tripp on April 26, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Since when is Drezner an Iran specialist? Since when is Drezner a specialist on anything? Finding that he has an article in the last Foreign Affairs, I've vowed never to buy it again.

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

From what I've read, Iranian positions are quite moderate, eg they agree with the Arab League position wrt Israel: recognition in exchange for a two state settlement with the Palestinians.

But the US media loves Ahmadinejad, the wild & crazy Arab(sic), just as they love Al Sharpton, a demagogue with a sleazy past, when it comes to race. Fiery video is more important than substance.

Good info here, Chomsky interview:
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20070216.htm

Posted by: Horatio Parker on April 26, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, maybe. But that would depend on OUR negotiators having "authority for compromise" from OUR leaders, and if anything it seems likely that our leaders want confrontation rather than compromise.

Keep in mind that they're desperate to hold on to the wingnut base, since that's the only group they have any credibility left with, and to that group ANY compromise is a sign of weakness, which is the worst of all sins.

Of course, the Iranians very likely know this perfectly well, and they are only floating stories of "authority to compromise" in order to improve their standing in world opinion, which seems likely to be their target audience. They, after all, are served by delay, and intransigent Americans provide them the perfect excuse to go right on doing what they're doing.

Posted by: bleh on April 26, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Tripp, it's like occasionally running your car even if you don't drive it, only a lot more so. "Cold storage" for delicate instruments like these -- and the technicians and scientists who need to learn about them -- is like putting them out to rust.

Posted by: bleh on April 26, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Not if Cheney gets his way. We've heard this kind of thing before, but Cheney and his buds always scuttle it.

Posted by: Mimikatz on April 26, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Kevin, you wouldn't be so optimistic if you lived here in NY and saw the Post's screaming headline -- "MEDIEVAL!" -- yesterday, about how Iran was going to force women to wear head scarves. Barbarians! That was, literally, the only story on their front page. Yes, folks, this is what Rupert Murdoch and his clowns at the Post thought was the single most important and newsworthy event for yesterday. It would be amusing if there weren't so many people that actually read that fishwrap.

Posted by: Glenn on April 26, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

But the US media loves Ahmadinejad, the wild & crazy Arab(sic), just as they love Al Sharpton, a demagogue with a sleazy past, when it comes to race. Fiery video is more important than substance.
Posted by: Horatio Parker on April 26, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Horatio;
It's all tabloid news now. Pretty soon, we'll start seeing the stories of how Ahmadinijad and Elvis are having a love-child together. Blame the "Free Market of Ideas" - this is what the people want to hear. Truth? Facts? They're not profitable.

Posted by: bungholio on April 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp - in addition to what bleh said, I think the centrifuges are a continuous feed process, so one can change the mixture input gases while spinning. See the diagram under "Gas Centrifuge" on wikipedia.

Disclaimer - I am not a nuclear scientist.

Posted by: eeyn524 on April 26, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

about how Iran was going to force women to wear head scarves.

And Europeans think we in the US are barbarians for making women cover their breasts.

Maybe this is the issue that US wingnuts and Muslim rads can finally get together on -- a crusade against bare Euro-breasts!

Posted by: Disputo on April 26, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Truth? Facts? They're not profitable.
Posted by: bungholio on April 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it's one of many ironies that the so-called purveyors of social conservatism are also porn boosters.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on April 26, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sensible people will find a way to avoid war or military conflict. Just don't let Dick Cheney hear about it. He will use members of his Cheney-cabal who are spread throughtout the goverment to sabotage efforts to avoid combat.

Cheney obstructs peaceful solutions. He certainly has sabotaged them with North Korea and Libya.

Posted by: Rick B on April 26, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

No chance the Iranian willingness to compromise might be related to the growing consensus in Congress and in the US public for withdrawl from Iraq, which would leave the US military two hands free to deal with Tehran. No chance at all.

I suspect Iranian mistrust of Bush is a reason they'd want to keep the centrifuges spinning....at least up until January 2009. Recall how the hostages were flying out of Iran literally as Reagan was taking the oath of office? The Iranian leadership pays close attention to the US political calendar.

Posted by: MattT on April 26, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

This is idiocy. The Bush administration has led this dance toward war from the first tap of the drum. Orchards worth of olive branches from Iran mean nothing in this context.

Stop being naive. Murdock's agenda isn't money, it is and always has been control of the message going out to the public. Real news is plenty competitive with gossip crap. That's why Murdock (and like-monded associates like Moon and Scaife) spends so damn much money making sure there is little or no news to compete with his self-serving propaganda.

Posted by: joe on April 27, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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