Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Pause with Iran

Trita Parsi today suggests a pause in American attempts to engage Iran. I'll second that. The government is in uproar, with rival factions apparently undercutting each other, although all we can really see from here is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's difficulty in assembling a cabinet.

The counterargument is that Iran's nuclear program is moving forward, and Israel's trigger finger is getting itchy.

But when a government hasn't even been assembled, there are likely to be changes in direction and emphasis. Not a good time to try any sort of serious negotiations. And the IAEA inspectors are still there, although limited in the scope of what they can inspect.

Consider how it would have been for the EU to insist on major trade negotiations, or for Russia to insist on negotiating nuclear weapons numbers during the month-long impasse over the 2000 US presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore. That's what we would be doing by insisting on starting talks with Iran now.

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