No Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Predictable as Deadlock in Congress
Predicting the Iran nuclear talks would get nowhere was as easy as shooting fish in a fish market. What’s hard is understanding why so many others fail to see the obvious. Last week, I wrote,
It would surprise me greatly to see the West have the pluck to say, “This was our fourth deadline, so the talks are off because the deadline has passed again.”
The Iran nuclear talkers agree to keep talking and then to talk some more
Western officials said they were aiming to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March but that more time would be needed to reach a consensus on the technical details. (The Jerusalem Post)
Even the re-extended March deadline for progress now has another extension built in for ironing out the details, which runs through the end of June. Of course, the devil is always in the details. Reaching some kind of agreement in March will mean nothing because you can argue about the details of what that agreement meant forever.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at the end of the talks … the powers “made some significant progress” in the latest round of talks, which began last Tuesday in the Austrian capital. Hammond said that there was a clear target to reach a “headline agreement” of substance within the next three months.
The Talking Dead are being more careful to make their deadlines less absolute now that so many deadlines for the Iran nuclear talks have been missed. They are saying that the March deadline is only for reaching a “headline agreement” and now promising further extensions in advance. I’m not sure what that wafflespeak means, but I would infer it means something like, “We haven’t even reached an initial farework yet, but we’ll have an agreed set of objectives figured out by March so that we can finally give you a headline to print.”
To me, the extension of a deadline just to reach a “headline agreement” is a tell-tale indicator, revealing the Iran nuclear talks haven’t even reached enough of a solid framework to say anything of substance to the press. That means they haven’t really accomplished anything of substance in two years of trying. We were led to believe the extension last July was to hash out details on a framework that had been reached. Now we find out there was neither a framework reached then nor now and that details are far down the road.
The press says today’s announcement was the second extension. In fact, it’s the fourth since the president first promised no more extensions; yet the negotiators keep falling for Iran’s delay tactics. The talks were supposed to reach their deadline for a framework agreement a year ago but did not even come close. So, Iran got an extension last November to reach a framework agreement by early 2014. Then we were led to believe some kind of framework was reached in February, so the talks were extended to July 2014 to work out the details. Then they were extended until today to work out “sticking points.” Now they’re extended until March just to work out the framework … with the details having until the end of next June!
From the very beginning of these talks, I predicted (see excerpts that follow) that Iran would use these talks only to buy time. While Iran makes less enriched uranium, it can continue to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead reliably along with a detonator capable of setting a nuclear weapon off reliably. Iran is stalling, but we’re the suckers who are willing to fall for it.
Some of my predictions and observations two years ago were …
Iran wants to put more time on the clock in order to enrich uranium to bomb-grade material and in order to develop a dependable delivery system for the weapon….
As I’ve said all along, you don’t build impenetrable bunkers under mountains in order to conduct nuclear medicine research. That’s an abnormally high price to pay for medical research! Who in Iran could afford nuclear medicine that came with such a high price tag, which is above and beyond the price the entire country is also paying under sanctions for pursuing enriched uranium?
…Iran’s leaders are Muslim clerics, and Islamic prophecy teaches that the 12th Imam will return and set up his global Islamic caliphate when the followers of Islam are engaged in a holy war against the Jews. Naturally, they need that to be a war they can win. For a believer of such prophecies, the religious hope of a global Islamic caliphate clearly outweighs order ambien online what would be regarded as the righteous suffering of one nation in order to bring that long-aticipated event about. Iranian leaders have stated for decades that the most important thing that could happen in the middle east is the complete erasure of “the zionist entity.”
…My economic prediction for Iran in 2012 was that there was no way Iran would capitulate with the West in negotiations.
Giving up some of their enriched uranium is a costly enough gesture in terms of their goal that it could convince people (and apparently has convinced some) that Iran is starting to move in the right direction. This is all a game of nuclear cat and mouse.
The Iran nuclear talks have already resulted in Iran’s increased nuclear capacity
Perhaps Western diplomats hope to talk them to death, but I think they are talking them to the deaths of others. While the West fiddles with Iran, a report that I mentioned last week came out showing that Iran has hugely improved the capacity of its centrifuges. The vastly more efficient centrifuges that it has set up during the extended talks can now make up for all of Iran’s lost time in refining uranium and for all the enriched stock it had to convert into a form that is not easily useable for a bomb as result of its last extension agreement. In fact, it can make up all that lost time in about one month. The improved centrifuges have become a new sticking point for the P5 +1 negotiators that developed while they were talking.
In about two months, Iran could be ahead of where it was before the last extension began. Meanwhile, it has also dug in its facilities to a point where military analysts now say they are unreachable by the kinds of conventional weapons Israel has at its disposal. So, it has gained that by all these delays, too. Everything about this looks like Iran is buying time.
I also wrote last week,
I suspect we will only know with certainty how successful Iran has been in manipulating these extensions to continue nuclear development behind everyone’s back after Iran has developed a nuclear weapon. Maybe even after they have used it. Then everyone involved in negotiations will stand and wring their hands and wonder at how such calamity happened as they watch the smoke clear over Tel Aviv or Rome.
…The cost of assuming the best with Iran’s intention could be unforgivably high.
But this deadline for the Iran nuclear talks will be the last
Oh, that’s not a prediction or a promise. That’s a memory. In 2012, President Obama stated emphatically that he would not allow negotiations with Iran to extend beyond 2013. You know, in his “let me be clear” tone.
Uh huh. We’ve now extended negotiations two years beyond that!
One has to wonder how negotiators can say with straight faces that “substantial progress” was made in the last three weeks when they also tell us the extension to March only gets us to headline status. People can reach such a framework and then endlessly disagree over what it really meant when it comes time to iron out the details.
Apparently, one person who walks among the Iran nuclear negotiators is not one of the Talking Dead, for the Jerusalem Post article quoted above also says,
One senior Western diplomat expressed pessimism about the prospects for an agreement in seven months time. “It’s been 10 years that proposals and ideas have been put forward,” he said on condition of anonymity. “There’s nothing left. It’s essentially a side issue now. The Iranians are not moving. It is a political choice.”
“I am skeptical that even if we did extend we will be able to reach a deal,” he said shortly before the extension was announced.
Ten years! It certainly doesn’t sound like that insider thinks any “substantial progress has been made.” His experience tells him that it is all a sideshow.
Several Western officials have questioned the value of extending the talks again, saying there is little reason to expect the Iranians will show the flexibility needed to end the impasse in the weeks and months ahead. They have also questioned the Iranian leadership’s desire to compromise.
Nevertheless, extend them they did.
See some of my earlier articles on the likelihood of Iran reaching nuclear-war capacity and the likelihood of Iran using such weapons:
THE IRANIUM REACTION: Is Jihad Rising? (Includes a reading list on Islamic Fundamentalism, Ahmadinejad, the twelfth imam (the Mahdi), and a nuclear Iran)