Nuclear talks with Iran collapse

posted at 1:50 pm on January 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not only have talks between Iran and six Western nations on nuclear non-proliferation collapsed, no one has any idea when Iran will come back to the table.  Iran refused to open discussions without first having sanctions lifted, and the West refused:

Talks meant to nudge Iran toward heeding U.N. Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment collapsed Saturday, with Tehran shrugging off calls by six world powers to cease the activity that could be harnessed to make nuclear arms.

Announcing the failure of two days of negotiations, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said no new date for another meeting had been set. She blamed what the six consider unrealistic demands by Iran — an end to U.N. sanctions and agreement that Iran could continue to enrich — for the disappointing results.

Proposals by the six for improved U.N. monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities were rejected by Tehran, as were attempts to kickstart dialogue through reviving a subset of international talks focusing on Iran shipping out a limited amount of its enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for its research reactor, Ashton said.

Turkey winds up with egg on its face in this case.  They provided the venue and the mediation to get Iran back to the table, and claimed that their growing friendship with Iran put them in good position to gain concessions from the mullahcracy.  Turkey’s Foreign Minister claimed that Iran actually trusted the US to keep a bargain more than the Russians, and that talks could gain some traction for the “moderate” Ahmandinejad.  The Turks oppose stronger sanctions, but Iran’s insistence on an end to all sanctions as a prerequisite to talks likely caught Turkey by surprise, as well as the Western nations gathered for the talks.

In other words, this has been another colossal waste of time.  Iran has no intention of ending its march to nuclear arms, as their behavior repeatedly has shown over the past decade.  They kept this program hidden for as long as possible to keep the IAEA out of their hair, and have played games ever since to delay international action to prevent the development of a nuclear weapon.

Undoubtedly, the Western nations will once again threaten tougher sanctions.  Undoubtedly, Russia and China will express reservations.  And undoubtedly, Iran will once again offer to hold talks, only to play Lucy to the West’s Charlie Brown and pull the ball away again.


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