Monday, January 2, 2012

Iran Suddenly Wants to Restart Nuke Talks With EU, US

by Rick Moran

Will their stalling tactics work again? Will the EU and the US play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy as they hold out the prospect for productive talks only to yank them away at the last minute?

Looks that way.


Top negotiator Saeed Jalili has said Iran is ready to rejoin EU-led talks with major powers on assuaging Western concerns over its nuclear programme even as tensions with the United States soar in the Gulf.

"We will give a resounding and many-pronged response to any threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Jalili told Iranian diplomats gathered in Tehran in comments reported on Saturday.

But both he and other officials left the door open to resuming long-stalled talks led by European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Western concerns over Iran's nuclear programme.

"We officially told them to come back to the negotiation based on cooperation," Jalili said.

Iran's ambassador to Germany, Alireza Sheikh-Attar, told the Mehr news agency on Saturday: "We will soon send a letter, after which (new) talks will be scheduled."

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was also quoted by a website of the state broadcaster as telling a visiting Chinese foreign ministry official that "Iran is prepared for the continuation of nuclear negotiations" on the basis of a Russian proposal.

Iran is subject to four rounds of UN sanctions over its nuclear programme, which many Western governments fear is cover for a drive for a weapons capability, an ambition Tehran denies.

The United States and its allies have also imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran's economy.

The last lot of unilateral sanctions triggered a demonstration in Tehran that led to members of the Basij militia controlled by the Revolutionary Guards ransacking the British embassy.

London reacted by closing the mission and ordering Iran's embassy in Britain closed.

Iran usually goes through these motions when the west is getting ready to apply another round of sanctions. No doubt we will fall for the ruse again because we believe "as long as we're talking, we're not shooting." Iran doesn't see it that way, of course. They're interest in talks is tactical - a means by which to stall the west and sap their will to resist.

It's worked rather well in the past and will probably get another tryout soon. But there may be a little more urgency connected with these negotiations as it appears that Israel and perhaps the US are running out of patience and the time for talk will have ended and the time for action will be upon us.

Rick Moran


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