Here is good news—maybe. Representatives of Iran and of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China agreed to meet in Baghdad starting May 23 to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. The negotiations will be based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed, which gives countries the right to develop nuclear energy in return for renouncing nuclear weapons. If Iran can demonstrate that its nuclear program is not a weapons program, then crippling economic sanctions can be lifted—maybe.
President Obama has said that he does not rule out an attack on Iran, but only after all efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution have failed. If negotiations are successful, and Iran’s government really does demonstrate to the satisfaction of the U.S. negotiators that it renounces nuclear weapons, then Obama’s brinksmanship will have proved successful.
But given that the U.S. government attacked Libya after Col. Qadaffi renounced nuclear weapons, and given that the U.S. government refrains from attacking nuclear-armed North Korea, I doubt that I, if I were an Iranian leader, would be willing to give up the possibility of developing a nuclear deterrent. The main threat to Iran comes from Israel, and Israel is not a party to the talks.
Click on Agreement reached with Iran on formal talks in May for details from McClatchy newspapers.
Click on Did U.S. miss 2010 chance for Iran nuke deal? Turkey says yes for background from McClatchy newspapers.
Click on Iran nuclear talks: A positive first step? for Iranian and Russian as well as U.S. perspectives from Al Jazeera English.
Click on What Iran Can Learn From Kazakhstan for the case for Iranian renunciation of nuclear weapons, and Uranium Double-Standard: The U.S., Kazakhstan and Iran for the case against Kazakhstan as a model.
One ironic aspect of all this is that the talks are being held in Baghdad because the Iranian government considers Iraq a friendly venue. But that would not be the case had not U.S. military forces overthrown the regime of Iran’s arch-enemy, Saddam Hussein, and replaced it with government headed by Sunni Muslims friendly to the Sunnis of Iran.
Pepe Escobar, an enterprising and opinionated reporter for the Asia Times of Singapore, thanks that President Obama’s demands on Iran are like President George W. Bush’s demands on Iraq—something meant to provide a justification for war. Click on Surrender now or we’ll bomb you later for his comment. I have added Escobar’s columns to my Links menu. He presents facts and ideas which you won’t get from most U.S. newspapers.