Politics

Iran Extends Olive Branch?

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Could they be slowing down their enrichment program so the US would be more likely to join them for direct negotiations?

NY Times has more:

In discussions with White House and State Department officials in recent days, Europeans have described the inspectors’ findings, clearly hoping to influence a debate within the Bush administration over whether to change strategy and engage directly with Iran. But hard-liners in the administration say they are unconvinced and think any slowdown may be merely a tactical ploy by the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “It could simply mean we’re not looking in the right places,” said one senior official with access to the intelligence and who has long suspected that Iran has a secret weapons program.

Nuclear experts, accustomed to measuring the efficiency of uranium centrifuges rather than of diplomatic initiatives, caution, too, that the slowdown may mean that Iran has run into technical obstacles on its nuclear road. Centrifuges are machines whose rotors spin extraordinarily fast to enrich, or concentrate, uranium into material that can fuel nuclear reactors or atom bombs.

Diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s political delicacy, say that Iranian engineers stopped pouring a raw form of uranium, called UF6, into arrays of centrifuges after just 12 days, even as the nation erupted in celebrations of the enrichment feat. The reports, which have now been widely circulated, say the Iranians kept the empty centrifuges spinning, as is standard practice because slowing the delicate machines can cause them to wobble and crash.

Yes, it could all be a deft PR move, but after how Iraq has gone…I’m certainly hoping we can actually negotiate our way out of this mess.

  • http://ambivablog.typepad.com/ amba

    Don’t be too sure. Read this, and follow the link to read this: what Iranian emigre journalist Amir Taheri says about Iran’s long-term strategy. The New York Times seems naïve and oblivious. The patient strategy includes:

    waiting out the term of George W. Bush, whom the Iranians regard as unusually belligerent — most U.S. presidents, faced with challenges and setbacks, will “run away”

    pretending to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment and hypocritically signing additional protocols of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (thus deterring sanctions)

    On the other hand, Ali Eteraz says Amir Taheri needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Draw your own conclusions.

  • http://ambivablog.typepad.com/ amba

    It was Taheri who spread that story about Jews and Christians in Iran being compelled to wear identity badges, which turned out to be false.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    It was Taheri who spread that story about Jews and Christians in Iran being compelled to wear identity badges, which turned out to be false.

    Well, there ya go. It doesn’t mean he’s not right about Iran, but he’s certainly hurt his credibility.

  • http://sethyblog.blogspot.com Pooh

    My question is, what options does negotiating take off the table for a later time? Krauthammer’s rather bizarre Admiral Ackbar take (“It’s a TRAP!”) aside what is the opportunity cost of talking? We can still make appropriate plans, increase readiness to a degree, gather intelligence while talking, right? Of course if ‘regime-change’ is the underlying goal, those things might seen as bugs, not features.

  • http://mooreisfatduhimstoopidilikeanncoulterandchickenfries.ytmnd.com/ Jimmy the Dhimmi

    The law that was being considered by the Iranian parliament was about a mandatory, universal islamic dress code for Muslim men and women. This story turns out to be true.

    However, what remains to be seen is, if a Jew or Christian decided to wear the same “uniform” as a muslim would wear after the law is passed, would the Jew or Christian have to distinguish himself with the traditional zunar? This was the origin of the badge-rumor. Who knows, maybe it wont turn out to be false after all.

  • Phillip J. Birmingham

    Who knows, maybe it wont turn out to be false after all.

    Hope springs eternal, huh?