Iranian nuclear talks going about as well as you’d expect

posted at 10:01 am on April 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

For the last two days, negotiators from the P5+1 nations and Iran have met in Almaty, Kazakhstan to attempt to end an impasse over Iran’s nuclear program.  An earlier set of meeting in February had raised hopes among some observers that real progress had been made, and that an agreement at least on interim measures could be reached. As talks conclude today, though, one participant in the talks says that Iran actually ended up raising more questions than its answers addressed, and the gap has widened:

Six world powers and Iran met for a second day on Saturday with scant hope of striking a breakthrough deal to ease concern that Tehran may be trying to develop nuclear weaponscapability, a dispute that could escalate into a new Middle East war.

Negotiators failed to narrow their differences when the two-day meeting began on Friday, which followed a round of talks in February, also in Kazakhstan’s commercial hub, Almaty.

The final day of negotiations was unlikely to achieve more than a willingness to keep talking. Iran responded on Friday to an offer of limited relief from sanctions with a proposal of its own that puzzled Western diplomats and which Russia said raised more questions than answers.

Reuters notes that the upcoming presidential elections in Iran made the prospects of an agreement dim in the first place.  If the mullahs who run Iran (and run the elections) wanted an agreement, though, this would have been of little consequence.  The outcome of the election is in their hands, just as it was four years ago when they rigged the nominations and then the voting outcome to retain Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the position.

Instead, as has been the case through an almost interminable number of these conferences, Iran has once again head-faked the P5+1 and gained itself more time for developing nuclear weapons.  Even with that realization, Russia still claims that Iran is “serious” about negotiations:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “Iran has given an answer to the proposals of the six powers. It is the kind of answer that creates more questions … But this shows that the negotiations are serious.”

Russia seems to be in the minority on that view:

“It seems that instead of narrowing, the gap between the sides (has) actually widened,” said Ali Vaez, an Iran expert with the International Crisis Group.

This fits the pattern we’ve seen for a decade.  Iran leads the EU, Russia, and China to believe that they’re ready to fit their program back within the supervision and limits of the IAEA — perhaps as soon as the next round of negotiations, a few months off.  The next time, Iran changes its demands, forcing the negotiators to refuse — at which point Iran blames the P5+1 and refuses to negotiate again for a few months.  It’s all a ploy to gain enough time to manufature a nuclear weapon, at which point the world will have to deal with Iran on Tehran’s terms, or so the mullahs hope.

The gap isn’t widening or narrowing. Iran wants nuclear weapons, and is playing the game perfectly to keep the West paralyzed for as long as it takes to get one.

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“Iran is a small country.”

obama said so.

hawkdriver on April 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM

…Skrew Iran!…we have to take guns away from Americans!

KOOLAID2 on April 6, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Obama statesmanship at work…

wb-33777 on April 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM

hawkdriver on April 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM


“At this point, what difference does it make?”

Hillary said so.

petefrt on April 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM

…JugEars is busy vacationing and campaigning…who cares about Iran…they just have those pistachio nuts or something!

KOOLAID2 on April 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

…so when is JugEars going to get a photo-op…wearing one of those North Korean General hats…held up by his ears?

KOOLAID2 on April 6, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Smart Power

It’s odd how Mr. Chicago Thug can be so ruthless against conservatives but go all wobbly on our enemies. Hmmmmm.

jnelchef on April 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM

“Strategic patience”, a.k.a. “what, me work?”

The Rogue Tomato on April 6, 2013 at 10:47 AM

*”Iran? where is that? Oh, that’s in the Middle East? Oh, yeah let’s get out of there. Why are we overseas anyway? Shouldn’t we be spending that money over here on infrastructure and investing in education?”

“And I’m going to need the new iPhone, because I’m tired of this piece of crap flip phone from Obama. And when are the rich going to be told what for? I just wish Obama would just take all those rich peoples money and give it to us poor people.”

“Oh, what were you asking? Oh, yeah Iran……..I like their gasoline.”

*The Yahoo News Voting block responds to the latest news about Iran.

PappyD61 on April 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Leading From Behind His A$$

ShainS on April 6, 2013 at 11:05 AM

US foreign policy has become painfully boring. Even Obama’s attempts to create multiple crisis conditions are bland and uninteresting.

rplat on April 6, 2013 at 11:08 AM

There is one, and only one, solution for monomaniacal totalitarian regimes such as Iran and NorKo – total and complete military victory. Nothing else works.

Of course, neither does communism work but they still keep trying.

platypus on April 6, 2013 at 11:09 AM

G.W. Bush had Iran surrounded with massive military assets for 8 years and did nothing while they seeded Iraq and Afghanistan with IED’s with impunity and furthered their nuclear ambitions. He did nothing about N. Korea either, while Condi went on her shopping sprees and piano recitals. Obama is extending that record for another 8 years. It will then be 16 years of all “talks” and no action.

Tripwhipper on April 6, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Bush had expended any political capital gained already. There wasn’t the will to deal with Iran. Teh Won could do whatever he wants, and decides not to act. Only Nixon could go to China, etc.

WitchDoctor on April 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

How weak can we get??

VIENNA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. official said on Saturday there had been no breakdown in nuclear negotiations with Iran, despite the lack of substantive progress during two days of talks between world powers and Tehran in Kazakhstan.
“There was no breakthrough but also no breakdown,” the official, who declined to be identified, said after the meeting in the Kazakh city of Almaty. The official said the major powers intended to proceed with diplomatic efforts to solve the dispute.

Aplombed on April 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM

ShainS on April 6, 2013 at 11:05 AM

You don’t mean that word as the military slang for armored vehicles, I guess.

platypus on April 6, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Tripwhipper on April 6, 2013 at 11:35 AM
WitchDoctor on April 6, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Unless I am mistaken, even Republican presidents (assuming we ever have another one) have to worry about domestic political costs. W was a hawk for the lay of the political landscape of the time and look where it got him in the polls.

Even if he weren’t a liberal, they are all politicians, so can you then blame our POTUS for his forbearance?

The real dark clouds are in the future.

Between the left and the media, we have a near structural impediment in the USA to launching any long term military operations. The real block, which is developing now, is an economy without the vigor to maintain a war machine that could be called upon for the kind of moves most prior administrations could make.

I am wondering if we are going to have only drones and nukes to handle the bad guys in the future.

IlikedAUH2O on April 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

It’s all a ploy to gain enough time to manufacture a several nuclear weapons, at which point the world will have to deal with Iran on Tehran’s terms, meaning several large glassy areas that used to be cities, starting with Tel Aviv, or so the mullahs hope.


As Wretchard pointed out in the Three Conjectures, the mullahs operate on an eschatological worldview and timetable unrelated to reality. If they succeed in assembling usable nuclear “packages”, they will use them.

They may not necessarily do it themselves, however. Never mind missiles; they have plenty of tactical aircraft that could deliver them to places they wish to see erased. However, it is far more likely that they would supply one or more to a terrorist group they support, and let them do the delivery duty. This gains them both a victory, and “plausible deniability”.

One objection often made to this is that the technology available to Iran cannot produce a weapon that is “one point safe”, as ours are supposed to be. Unfortunately, in their worldview, this is largely irrelevant. First of all, neither of the bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was “one point safe”. In fact, the Hiroshima U235 “gun bomb” (“Little Boy”) was so far from that standard that its implosion charge of bagged smokeless rifle powder was only installed as the Enola Gay approached the coast of Shikoku. This didn’t seem to affect its efficiency.

Secondly, the mullahs most likely do not care if the weapon is safe or not. To them, any infidel who dies is a victory, and any Muslim who dies in the process is a martyr. So if they attempt to smuggle such a weapon into, say, France, and it goes off in Marseilles instead of Paris as intended, so what? From their POV, it was Allah’s will- and more than enough infidels are dead, either way.

If it went off in Gaza enroute to Tel Aviv- all those Muslims who would die would be martyrs. And besides, they could always claim it was an Israeli or American nuke if they felt like it- plausible deniability yet again. (In that part of the world, non-Muslims are invariably guilty- of everything. Just Ask The One, he’ll tell you so.)

Assuming that a group devoted to an entirely different worldview will behave the way you think you should behave is a very dangerous conceit.

The “We’re both sane men” concept does not function very well when those on the other side have an entirely different definition of “sanity”.

clear ether


eon on April 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Yeah, well, Iran, as per usual, is going to tell them what they want to hear, then renege on that…after all, it is permitted in the Koran and the Suras to lie with impunity to infidels. And other Muslims for that matter, should it further the cause of the 12th Imam.

After all this time, you’d think the West and whomever might just have gotten a clue. They’re assuming that a Muslim Theocracy is going to be truthful…idiots.

sage0925 on April 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Ya mean to tell me that Iran is STALLING……….AGAIN?

Who would have guessed that?

GarandFan on April 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Ya mean to tell me that Iran is STALLING……….AGAIN?

Who would have guessed that?

GarandFan on April 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Maybe Obama doesn’t mind kicking the can down the road either. Why solve the problem on his watch and take the heat? Besides, he may not cry too much if Israel goes up in flames anyway.

KW64 on April 6, 2013 at 9:07 PM