Breaking: U.S. agrees to direct talks with Iran (Update: Iran says thanks but no thanks)

posted at 5:18 pm on May 31, 2006 by Allahpundit

Fox News is reporting. Condi Rice has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Supposedly, one of our conditions is that Iran give up uranium enrichment. I’ll be surprised if that demand lasts the week.

Read this and this while we’re waiting for Rice. Tough luck for Saddam that he didn’t push his nuke program harder, huh? He might have earned himself some restored diplomatic relations or, if he played his cards right, maybe even a peace treaty.

The Times will no doubt be thrilled by the news. Charles Krauthammer warned against bilateral talks with Iran on Friday, but these negotiations will be multilateral — which, he argues, could work, but only if the Europeans agree to support military strikes if the talks fail. Which, of course, they won’t. His next column should be interesting. Meanwhile, the world’s non-aligned states cover their eyes.

Standby for coverage of Rice’s presser.

Update: Sure, they’ll stop enriching uranium. No problem.

Update: “Iranians will not allow nuclear research to be suspended even for a while.”

Update: So much for Krauthammer’s proposal.

Update: Rice says the U.S. acknowledges Iran’s right to “civil nuclear energy.” There’ll be economic “benefits” if they suspend their enrichment program. She says Iran needs to stop supporting terror in Iraq and Lebanon if they want to come back fully into the international fold. Now she’s pushing democracy in Iran.

Update: She’s taking questions now. The long and short of it is that the ball’s back in Iran’s court: if, as suspected, they refuse to stop enriching uranium then we’re off the hook for not talking to them directly. We offered, they declined. But here’s the thing: why on earth would she acknowledge Iran’s right to nuclear energy? Presumably that’s a concession to the Iranian people, who have had propaganda to that effect drummed into them for months. But what happens if Iran calls our bluff, suspends enrichment temporarily in order to get us to the table, and then starts enriching uranium again for its “energy” program? She’s already conceded they have the right to do so. On what grounds does she object next time?

Update: Reader Dylan A. thinks the “civil nuclear energy” gambit is Rice’s way of saying that Iran can have a reactor but they’ll have to import the nuclear fuel they use rather than enrich it themselves. Probably right. But is that how Iranians will interpret it? Won’t the mullahs point to Rice’s concession as proof that the Americans are being unfair if/when we object to them enriching uranium for their alleged “energy” needs?

Update: Rick Moran says we owe it to world public opinion to at least float this offer. Geraghty says they’ll just blame us anyway.

Update: As expected, Iran says it won’t agree to talks if there are any preconditions. IRNA reports on Rice’s speech, calling it “a propaganda move” and adding that halting enrichment would be against Iranian interests.

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This is probably more symbolic than anything else, to appease the left wing MSMs constant harping about us talking to their new favorite tyranical madman. We will be depicted as the bad guy as usual by the MSM.

roninacreage on May 31, 2006 at 11:04 AM

CHICAGO staring George Bush as Billy FLynn

Give ’em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle ’em
Give ’em act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate

Throw ’em a fake and a finagle
They’ll never know you’re just a bagel,
And they’ll beg you for more!

Back since the days of old Methuselah
Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler

Give ’em the old three ring circus
Stun and stagger ’em
When you’re in trouble, go into your dance

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 31, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Standard diplomatic ploy; agree to talks with a reasonable condition you know the lunatic won’t agree to. Makes him look all the more like a lunatic, right up to the time we are then forcesd to drop a shiny new 28,000 pound bunker buster on their key facilities.

Mike O on May 31, 2006 at 11:48 AM

Just a quick comment as to why Ms. Rice acknowldeged Iran’s right to “civil nuclear energy”. Probably because it’s true.

Iran is a member of the IAEA and is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The entire point of the NPT is to permit members to acquire nuclear technolgy for peaceful uses in exchange for not developing nuclear weapons. The idea is that states may acquire nuclear technology legally from other states, provided that it is not intended for weapons development. (This is why when Mr. Ahmadinejab mentioned quitting the NPT he was talking through his hat…it is the NPT that allows Iran to legally obtain nuclear technolgy with minimun difficulty).

So, it’s a bit laughable in that Iran is suspected of being in violation of important parts of the NPT (why did they sneak in technology that they could obtain legally if it wasn’t for illegal purposes?), but so long as they are a member of the NPT, what Ms. Rice says is correct.

Incidentally, this illustrates the media spin game that is being carried on. Iran consistently asserts that it has the right to nuclear technology, a right that is uncontested. What remains unaddressed is their right to acquire nuclear weapons, a right that they relinquished by signing on to the NPT.

Blaise on May 31, 2006 at 12:08 PM

Bush’s diatribe reminds me of John Kerry’s “I was for the war before I was against it.”

George Bush: “I refused to talk with Iran before I agreed to talk with Iran after I thought about talking with Iran but decided not to before I did.”

ForYourEdification on May 31, 2006 at 12:16 PM

Somewhere in America, a little bunker buster is being built, dreaming of the day when he can glide down a laser, and slam into a Natanz rooftop, burrowing through reinforced concrete floors, and then destroying these America-hating mullah’s nuclear dreams.

Mark my words, bombs will be dropped before this is over. This guy is just too unstable.

BirdEye on May 31, 2006 at 12:17 PM

In my mind, whatever the intentions of the United States are in this situation, the Iranians will simply use it as another opportunity to stall for more time. I have a bad feeling this administration is not planning on taking any action against Iran.

tommy1 on May 31, 2006 at 12:18 PM

Bush is depending on the Israeli’s to act. Will he back them up, or will it be another Bay of Pigs?

And this is the Republican president I voted for (twice) – to be tough on security matters.

God help America.

dman on May 31, 2006 at 12:30 PM

When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.

dman on May 31, 2006 at 12:32 PM

Yeah dman, this second term is such a let down, due to the fact that when he won reelection, everyone was talking about “Bush has a mandate.” But this second term has really made me very cynical and depressed. We need a real leader in ’08.

BirdEye on May 31, 2006 at 12:36 PM

The administration will NEVER get credit for doing what the MSM/foreign elites want. The Bush administration has tried it all – unilateral, multilateral, UN-based, let the Euros lead – from N. Korean to Iraq to Darfur to Iran. No matter what course Bush has chosen, it is the “wrong” one.

This also reminds me of a point DenBeste made a while ago about the six-party talks with N. Korean, and how we had refused direct bilateral talks. He made a comparison to the endless disagreements during the Korean War (if I remember correctly) about the SHAPE of the negotiating table (round vs rectangular vs hexagon). Of course, the table shape was simply a sign for who was more desparate for negotiations. Whoever gave in on the table shape was signaling their greater desire for negotiations, which put them at a weaker position from the beginning. This stuff with bilateral Iran and N. Korean talks is exactly the same, in which we are signaling how desparate we are for a deal. Which of course means we will never get a deal to our liking.

Clark1 on May 31, 2006 at 12:37 PM

When are we going to learn the lessons of the Vietnam war? Our enemies sure have!

dman on May 31, 2006 at 12:47 PM

Charles Krauthammer is the best columnist in America today. I just wish more of our government would heed his words, and more often.

Cary on May 31, 2006 at 1:20 PM

Part of me isn’t so worried. As time goes on it will be more and more the Europeans who pay for Islamic Fascism than we do. The Muslims in Eurabia will keep reproducing like rabbits and will keep bombing and rioting in their capitals. Lets face it – for Islam to expand, it HAS to be Europe.

Part of me thinks the spineless Ninnies running Europe need a good hard wake-up call more than we need to whoop Iran’s ass. Plus those Iranian Missles will be in range of the EU, not the US.

Hehe… stupid Europeans.

venmax on May 31, 2006 at 5:46 PM

Bush IS NOT the worst president since Carter. Fox news just said (on TV) Carter has been meeting with the Bin Ladens and taking money to undermine our war efforts.

Ummmm… so, like, are we EVER going to bring back the whole TREASON thing???

NTWR on May 31, 2006 at 5:56 PM

What is the difference right now between Bush’s foreign policy and Clinton’s? Isn’t this the same tactic Clinton used with North Korea back in 1994? Result: Nuclear weapons and the saving of a regime that surely would have collapsed sooner.

Bush did the right thing with Iraq, but he has been acting like a Democrat ever since.

januarius on May 31, 2006 at 5:59 PM

Did anyone else see the Carter-Bin-Laden thing on Fox? It’s nowhere on the web. I hope I’m not going crazy.

Sorry about being off-topic.

NTWR on May 31, 2006 at 6:41 PM

The start of dialog may signal that the administration has sufficient intel to warrant a change of strategy.

Enrichment of U235 is not for bomb making. It takes a very big centrifuge plant a long time to produce weapon grade U235. Iranian needs the U235, usually at 3% enrichment only, for their power plants to convert U238 into Pu239.

they could be building power plants under ground.

They could obtain sufficient Pu239 within a year or two and use Pu239 to make bombs.

I think time is not on our side.

I hope Bush knows what he is doing.


easy87us on May 31, 2006 at 6:52 PM

Iran already said it watched the Saddam thing and learned how to buy time with “diplomacy” carrots.

They already have big underground facilities, I wonder if bunker busters could even get to where the goods would be?

Time is not on our side.

NTWR on May 31, 2006 at 6:59 PM

Why doesn’t anyone listen to Krauthammer? He’s the man.

violet on May 31, 2006 at 9:59 PM

I can see the move by the Bush administration as an exhaustion of all possibilities of peaceful negociations, of course pressured by Tony Blair.

Plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities are still active and ready to go.

Let’s look at the big picture:

The Europeans, America and Israel will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

That is a standard policy that will never change. That is the goal.

Course of action to implement that goal:

1 – Exhaust peaceful negociations. If they fail, go to step two.

2 – Give a warning. Dismantle or else. If the warning fails, go to step three.

3 – Attack. A swift, rapid, precise bombing of suspicious nuclear facilities.

4 – Before, during and after the attack: Protecting the oil fields in the Arabian Gulf, positioning Patriot and other interceptors.

5 – Regime change in Iran is out of the question, because invasion is out of the question. Regime change must come from the inside.

The attack will be modeled on the one made by the Israelis years ago when they attacked Iraq’s nuclear plant. No invasion, no collateral damage if possible.

CatholicConservative on May 31, 2006 at 11:15 PM

WHEN we hit the nuke facilities, I believe we should make the very best effort we can to include severe and intentional hits on the deduced current locations of the theocracy. One of the best items that comes with our presence in Iraq (after removing the butchers who exterminated more millions of Muslims than anyone in recent history) is the opportunity to more easily inject our spying capability next door into Iran. We surely should be using it.

The majority of the Iranian civilian population hates the leadership, but after approaching 30 years of totalitarian rule, they are oppressed into submission. A widespread, protracted sequence of bomb drops could cripple their nuclear advances and return the mullahs to dust form in hours. That would change the face of the future within Iran.

Direct talks are just more diplomatic fodder. We will surely now be roundly criticized by the lefties for not including the “global community”. The Rice/Bush offer once again reveals our weakness in dealing with these lunatics.

If you must continue with diplomacy (that will never go anywhere with these insane leaders) at least stick to your original insistence that it be a unified effort. It won’t do crappola… just ‘buy’ (waste?) more time. Time we may not have. But constantly changing your position to one you earlier said was off the table simply proves that anything might be on the table. Lovely.

horsepower_1st on June 1, 2006 at 8:20 AM

“Iran dismissed the offer as “a propaganda move.””

OK, the feminine side of our collective conscious should now be clear! We tried. Unleash the Dogs of War so we can put them back in their cage and get on with the work of evolving civilization!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on June 1, 2006 at 9:00 AM

Irony: Iran is supporting the Iraq insurgency and melding together the Shiite factions in both countries. You know who was a good counter balance to the religious radicals in Iran? Saddam. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Also, with reference to one of the above posts, Israel doesn’t have the technology to take out the sort of bunkers the Iranians supposedly have.

honora on June 1, 2006 at 12:49 PM

Yeah, that’s it…

Iran is actually more at ease and comforted by the fact that the US Armed Forces and allies sit in countries bordering both sides of them now. Back in the days when the Taliban and Mr. Hussein and his nice boys were the neighbors, now there were the times when they spent every day quaking in their boots. The three would have always chosen leaving us mean-spirited Americans alone rather than covertly aligning against the Great Satin. We’ve probably made Iran more dangerous by ousting their enemy!

And there were no terrorists in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan before we went there and started the problem, either… right?

It would make sense like having three types of cancer in the body and leaving them all there. The three will not kill off eachother, just keep eachother “in check”, not spread nor attack other parts of the body.

Honora, how do you rationalize this? Seriously? Do you truly believe that Iraq and Iran hate eachother more than they do us? I can’t help it, I just have to take your bait…

horsepower_1st on June 1, 2006 at 4:49 PM

Condi is setting up the pins before she bowls them over. Make it look like we gave peace a chance, make Iran out to be the antaganists, antaginists, antog … BAD GUYS that they are and give us an excu … uh … REASON to bomb their nuke plants before THEY can nuke Israel. This will happen in either the last year of the Bush Admin or the first year of the Rice Admin.

Tony737 on June 2, 2006 at 12:43 AM