Nobody owning up to US-Iran talks story

If you’re one of the people who tend to spend their Saturday nights hanging out at Hot Air, (and let’s face it… why wouldn’t you?) you already know that we raised a few questions about a New York Times story claiming that Iran had agreed to some unilateral nuclear talks with the United States. That story in the Paper of Record still doesn’t appear to contain any updates or corrections, but the response from both sides of the world has been the same. Nobody is willing to back up their reporting.

First up, Iran.

“We don’t have any discussions or negotiations with America,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a news conference on Sunday. “The (nuclear) talks are ongoing with the P5+1 group of nations. Other than that, we have no discussions with the United States.”

The White House, for once, seemed to be on the same page with somebody else. (Even if it was Iran.)

The Obama administration has moved quickly to water down a report that the US and Iran have agreed in principle to meet one-on-one for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme…

However the National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in response that the United States would continue to work with fellow permanent members of the UN security council and Germany.

“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” the statement said.

So what happened? There seem to be a few possibilities for us to bat around while we watch football today. (And even though Ed didn’t take sides on it, I’m not holding out much hope for the Jets today, sorry.)

Theory 1: The story is true, but the actors on both sides don’t want to jinx it by bringing it out in public until the plan ripens a bit, so they’re denying it for now. (Yeah, yeah… I know. But we’re trying to cover the full spectrum here.)

Theory 2: The story is garbage, but the New York Times was misled by an Iranian activist trying to kick-start the process.

Theory 3: The story is garbage, but the New York Times was misled by an Obama administration official who wanted to plant a seed to make it look like the President’s foreign policy platform isn’t a complete shambles right before the foreign policy debate.

Theory 4: The story is utter, complete, and journalistic libelous garbage created out of whole cloth by the New York Times in an effort to make the President look more effective on foreign policy.

None of these theories look very pretty, and I’m open to others that I haven’t thought of yet. Either way, barring somebody coming forward to give up the goods, we’re left to speculate. And speculate we shall! Ready? Go.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023