Surprise! Iran attaches "impossible" conditions to nuke offer

The Times of London calls this a “surprise,” despite the fact that the Iranian mullahcracy has followed an utterly predictable pattern over the last several years in dealing with the UN, the IAEA, and the West over its nuclear-weapons program.  The West sets a deadline for Iran to respond to the latest Western proposal, and Iran waits until the deadline to announce that they will have a new counteroffer “soon.”  A few weeks later, Iran offers the West a deal that sounds great, except that when Iran makes the details known, it contains a poison pill that the West has to refuse.  Threats of sanctions ensue, and the West comes up with another offer … and the cycle starts again.

It’s like dandruff shampoo: Lather, rinse, repeat, only with fallout:

Iran has drawn up tough conditions on its proposed deal to ship out stocks of nuclear fuel, condemning the agreement to failure, The Times has learned.

Western leaders greeted with scepticism President Ahmadinejad’s sudden announcement on Tuesday that Iran was ready to hand over low-enriched uranium in return for a higher grade of fuel, a move aimed at building confidence and putting off Iran’s acquisition of material to fuel a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s conditions, contained in a written proposal given to British parliamentarians, include handing over its fuel in two batches on Iranian soil — both deal breakers in previous negotiations.

Meanwhile, the delay has had the effect that Tehran desired:

News of the conditions came as signs grew of the uphill battle Washington faces in persuading Russia and China to back punishing new sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council.

Russia had appeared to be leaning closer towards sanctions after Iran’s refusal to back the deal which Moscow helped broker. Yesterday Russia’s foreign minister held surprise talks with his Iranian counterpart on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference while China insisted Tehran was still open to the deal.

“We believe Iran has not totally shut the door on the IAEA proposal on nuclear fuel supply,” Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister said in Munich.

Utterly, utterly predictable.  China and Russia are not likely to cut ties with one of their biggest trade partners in the region, especially Russia, which has suffered through a harder recession than the US.  Iran gives them excuses not to engage in tougher sanctions by going through these Kabuki dances every few months, and the West continues to play along.  It would be humorous if it wasn’t successfully allowing Iran the time it needs to construct nuclear bombs and especially nuclear warheads to fit atop their short- and mid-range rockets.