Friday, April 06, 2012

Obama's Signal to Iran - So Much for That

Yesterday David Ignatius told us that President Obama sent a message to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei via Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if the program was safeguarded and transparent enough to show that it was not directed toward nuclear weapons. This would be a big step toward an agreement between Iran and the rest of the world.

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 are being scheduled for next week or the week after. Earlier, Iran suggested Istabul as the venue. Suddenly this week and Iranian official suggested Baghdad as a preferable meeting place. And now Prime Minister Erdogan says
It is necessary to act honestly. [The Iranians] continue to lose prestige in the world because of a lack of honesty.

This may have something to do with the unrest in Syria, where Iran backs the Assad regime. Or it may be something else. Not a good sign for the negotiations.

Update (4/8/12): The Iranians are willing to accept Istanbul for talks. Today, anyway. Hard to say what this means, but it's probably better than their insisting on Baghdad.

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