Iran agrees to new P-5+1 talks on nuclear program

posted at 2:01 pm on February 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The positive spin on this story is that Iran is prepared to accept some limits on its nuclear program.  The negative spin is that they’ve said that before, and it’s gone nowhere:

Iran has formally agreed to a new round of nuclear talks with the United States and five other world powers, European Union officials confirmed Tuesday, setting the stage for a critical effort to stave off a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf.

E.U. and Iranian officials signed off on a Feb. 26 meeting in the former Kazakh capital of Almaty, ending months of haggling over where and when negotiations would take place. Iran agreed in principle to new talks two months ago, but diplomatic progress appeared to falter amid a fierce internal debate among Iranian leaders over whether to accept limits on the country’s nuclear program.

What’s changed recently?  The Washington Post notes that the Iranian economy has melted down, for one:

Since June, when Iranian officials last sat down with diplomats from the so-called P5+1 powers — the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — Iran’s economy has been battered by U.S. and European economic sanctions, including an oil embargo that has wiped out half of Iran’s oil exports. Iran’s currency, the rial, tumbled to a record low against the dollar earlier this week.

That could produce a grassroots revolution that would see the mullahs up against the wall.  Even the Revolutionary Guard might prove less than loyal in a total economic collapse, although its leaders have at least as much to fear from an uprising after the 2009 crackdown on the Green Revolution.

That may be why Iranian media has suddenly softened on the US, too:

Tehran also has been abuzz with rumors about back-channel talks with the Obama administration, and some Iranian officials have appeared to embrace the idea of bilateral negotiations with the world power still officially regarded by regime hard-liners as the “Great Satan.” Neither government has confirmed that such contacts have occurred.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be fearful of gains made by his political rivals, too:

In a year when Iran will elect a new president and could face make-or-break decisions about its nuclear program, the country’s most prominent political family appears poised to extend its influence, strengthening the rule of hard-line clerics as they struggle with other power centers.

Larijani brothers now sit atop two of Iran’s three branches of government, the parliament and the judiciary, positions they have used to attempt to foil populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Speculation is rife that the best known of the five Larijani brothers, parliament speaker Ali Larijani, will make a second bid for the presidency when Ahmadinejad completes his final term in June.

But don’t break out the bubbly, either:

The Larijani ties to the supreme leader, Iran’s ultimate decision-maker, mean Ali Larijani would probably be more empowered than Ahmadinejad to make a deal with Washington. But his worldliness does not mean he is more Western, analysts say — although he is less bombastic than Ahmadinejad, he and his brothers are also viewed as even stauncher ideologues.

So should we be optimistic or pessimistic?  Based on the divide-and-delay diplomatic tactics of Iran with the P-5+1 group (and its limited success), I know which way I’m betting.


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Achmedinnerjacket wants to be an Astronaut…

workingclass artist on February 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Iran’s economy has been battered by U.S. and European economic sanctions, including an oil embargo that has wiped out half of Iran’s oil exports.

They’re just waiting until Chuck Hagel is SoD

rbj on February 5, 2013 at 2:15 PM

It’s a delaying tactic.
No matter what, a new leader (?) in June. No decisions until at least LATE in 2013.
Jaw-Jaw.

Jabberwock on February 5, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Achmedinnerjacket wants to be an Astronaut…

workingclass artist on February 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I say we send him to the moon…and leave him there. Let his lifeless pod be a permanent monument to all who would oppose us.

Hey, I can dream, right?

MelonCollie on February 5, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 10,000 times…

aunursa on February 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 10,000 times…

aunursa on February 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Shame on us for re-electing Obummer.

MelonCollie on February 5, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Containment.

Ben Hur on February 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

MeanWhile,…………….Liberation Baby…………….

Iran’s president says wishes to visit Gaza, pray in Jerusalem ‘after complete liberation’ – @Reuters

22 mins ago from http://www.reuters.com by editor
===============================================

*Exerpt*

“My wish is bigger than this. I wish to pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/05/us-iran-ahmadinejad-gaza-idUSBRE91411520130205

canopfor on February 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Containment.

Ben Hur on February 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I really wonder if the radioactive cat is out of the lead bag.

MelonCollie on February 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

******************Alert *******************
Live Now

Live video: US representatives introduce bipartisan bill to make gun trafficking a federal crime – @NBCNews

4 mins ago from video.msnbc.msn.com by editor
==================================================

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbcnews.com/50707294#50707294

canopfor on February 5, 2013 at 2:37 PM

OF COURSE HE AGREED TO NEW TALKS! The man has tons of centrifuges running 24/7 processing uranium in an attempt to build a nuclear weapon. They will STALL as long as we will possibly let them.

Our new (potential) Secretary of Defense has opposed every Sanction against Iran, evidently not having a problem with Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon…or believing through enough ‘reason’ & ‘talk’ we wil convince them to give up their goal of acquiring one.

So, how do we get tough on terrorist nations/governments? With Egypt totally unstable, the terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood ruling the country but fighting its citzens for control of the government…and with us almost $17 trillion in debt…we are going to just GIVE (not SELL) the Muslim Brotherhood 16 new F-16s & 200 Tanks. Although they have not been delivered yet, the administration said, ‘The deal is done & we can’t run it off.’ WHAT? WHY NOT?! It’s not like they have already PAID for it & we spent the money….

So, we’re going to delay & continue useless talks with Iran while arming terrorists who are fighting their own citizens to maintian their control of government. How’s that foreign policy working out for us?!

easyt65 on February 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Suffering for Allah is a good thing. Don’t look for anything to be accomplished.

GarandFan on February 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

The deaf are deaf, Ed. The blind blind. The mute mute. Whatever damage has been done to the ship is all too obvious to the crew members. When, oh when, will the Captain’s Quarters get the memo?
We need leadership, in the blogs as much as on the hill. The wire has been laid and no amount of common sense is going to cut it.

Limerick on February 5, 2013 at 3:12 PM

“Boy, those Iranians are really good at stringing the International Committee of Idiots along with that whole ‘nuclear program for peace’ shtick!”

–North Korea

search4truth on February 5, 2013 at 3:32 PM

The Mullahs know a sucker when they see one.

ElectricPhase on February 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

******************Alert *******************
Live Now

Live video: US representatives introduce bipartisan bill to make gun trafficking a federal crime – @NBCNews

4 mins ago from video.msnbc.msn.com by editor
==================================================

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbcnews.com/50707294#50707294

canopfor on February 5, 2013 at 2:37 PM

So does that mean Holder & his boss Obama will be prosecuted for Fast & Furious…or Libya…

ad infinitum…

workingclass artist on February 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nbcnews.com/50707294#50707294

canopfor on February 5, 2013 at 2:37 PM

So does that mean Holder & his boss Obama will be prosecuted for Fast & Furious…or Libya…

ad infinitum…

workingclass artist on February 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

workingclass artist:

Exactly WC/A on Holder..I’m thinking a Feel-Good Gesture,on the News Presser!:)

canopfor on February 5, 2013 at 4:41 PM

A total waste of time.

SC.Charlie on February 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM