Actually, that’s not true. It achieved the very important breakthrough of them telling us to our face that they’re not going to suspend enrichment.
The presence of [Undersecretary of State William] Burns had led to hopes of compromise on a formula under which Iran would agree to stop expanding its enrichment activities…
But doubt was cast over the value of talks less then an hour after they started, when Keyvan Imani, a member of the Iranian delegation, appeared to indicate that Tehran was not prepared to budge on enrichment.
“Suspension — there is no chance for that,” he told reporters gathered in the courtyard of Geneva’s ornate City Hall, the venue of the negotiations.
There also appeared to be little progress inside the talks.
Just in case the point about suspension being off the table was unclear, another Iranian official reiterated it to Reuters, as did lead Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, as have various other Iranian officials recently. The west’s reply, per EU negotiator Javier Solana: Let’s give them more time. Another two weeks, specifically, in the idle hope that they’ll respond to the incentives offer they conspicuously avoided responding to earlier this month because … it called for them to suspend enrichment. Does everyone grasp the absurdity here? Iran’s behaving as though enrichment is merely one of several issues the west is interested in as part of some comprehensive detente between the two sides, in which case the impasse on this point shouldn’t prevent the negotiations from going forward. But that’s idiotic; enrichment is all we’re interested in. Any “grand bargain” that’s in the offing is wholly contingent (let’s hope) on suspension of their nuclear program. Until they decide there’s some carrot we can offer them to get them to do that, there’s literally nothing to talk about. Yet here we go again with another meeting in two weeks, which gives Iran another little breather in building a weapon and gives us … what, exactly?
By way of companion reading, the left has been touting polls lately noting that Jews vastly prefer Obama to the GOP, especially on foreign policy. To which Politico replies: Not all do. Israel is quite possibly the only nation on earth right now where Maverick leads in the polls, and almost certainly the only one where he leads by anything like a 20-point margin. I wonder why.
Update: To be clear, the point here isn’t that the meeting is a failure because it failed to singlehandedly resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis. The point is that it accomplished absolutely nothing, not even a conciliatory rhetorical gesture by Iran. In the spirit of compromise, they could have simply declined comment when reporters asked them about suspending enrichment; instead they went out of their way, via three different officials, to reject the only U.S. demand, and per the blockquote they didn’t even wait until the meeting was over to do it. It’s a rhetorical middle finger.