Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Iran Test-Fires Long-Range Missile, Tehran Continues Diplomatic Game

Iran tested long range missiles that can reach Israel and US targets in the Middle East last night. Read the story, from the Jerusalem Post, here.

At the same time, Iran's government is following up on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent "overtures" toward initiating dialogue with Washington in the face of looming crisis. The Washington Post has the story here.

How sincere are these overtures? Not very, I'm afraid. The Post quotes Iranian analyst Saeed Laylaz thusly: "You know, two months ago nobody would believe that [Iranian Supreme Guide] Mr. Khamenei and Mr. Ahmadinejad together would be trying to get George W. Bush to begin negotiations. This is a sign of changing strategy. They realize the situation is dangerous and they should not waste time, that they should reach out." Don't believe it.

The Post also claims that US intelligence agents understand these moves as "major overtures" while the Bush Administration sees them as "tactical moves." The Post's implicit editorial disdain not withstanding, Bush's people are right on this. Sage has been documenting the mixed signals and conflicting statements flowing from Tehran for the better part of month. These developments, like Ahmadinejad's letter and like his call for IAEA involvement, betray another series of Iranian ploys and bids for time. Iran's nuclear enrichment team must be getting awfully close to weaponized uranium. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert speaks of Iran's nuclear time table in terms of months, and the desperate smoke and mirrors employed by Tehran only corroborate this claim. Overtures? Detente? Diplomatic opportunities? Not even close. US analysts (or mainstream media hacks) with pipe dreams of normalization apart from Iran's immediate, unconditional acceptance of the European plan should take a course or two in political theory and realpolitik.


Anonymous wes said...

Lets say their intent to talk is not genuine.. I'm interested to know what the U.S has to lose talking to the Iranians. If the Iranians offering to talk is a tactical move, then the U.S response is a poor tactical response. It's not like Bush is gonna invade iran tomorrow. It's not like the U.S cannot afford the plane flight cost to send someone to Iran.. I've been thinking this issue and i cannot set the downside to talking. The neocons all talk about this not being genuine but so what?. Reminds me of a movie i recently saw. The bad guy wanted to meet the good guy in a neutral place. The good guy friends said "it's a trap man, he wants to kill you". The good guy said "yes i know but if i go, i can perhaps escape the trap and rescue my girlfriend, if i don't go, she definetly dies". What's the point?.. if Bush does not talk to the iranians, he will definetly no t solve the problem diplomatically. If he does, he may not solve the problem but at least he has a chance of doing so. The way i see it, the neocons do not want to solve the problem. They think starting another war will garner them support and maybe all republicans will get elected cause they think the entire country is conservative. They seem to forget they won because of the votes of the moderate voters. No president has ever been elected by just the votes of his constituency. The moderates have always proven to be critical. I don't think the moderates will vote conservative if they perceive that all conservatives want is war.

2:01 AM  

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