With No Debate Obama Agreed To Extend Iran Nuclear Talks In Vienna Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wins this round. By keeping the talks going, he gains a bit more respectability

WASHINGTON – In this moment of global turmoil, marked by the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft by the Russia-supported Ukrainian rebels, plus Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the winner is Iran.

Nuclear talks extension

Almost unnoticed and with not much commentary, the US (and all the other parties) agreed to an extension of the Vienna talks with Iran aimed at “resolving” the nuclear issue in a manner that would satisfy the world that Iran will have a chance to develop nuclear power for civilian purposes, but no nuclear weapons.

Please bear in mind that this diplomatic theatre has been going on for quite a while. After the initial “breakthrough” which ended Iran’s isolation, while giving the green light to the present round of Vienna negotiations, we were told that there was an iron clad July 20, 2014 deadline. By this date a deal had to be reached. Lacking that, end of talks with Iran, and back to full economic sanctions.

Well, what do you know, the July 20 deadline will come and go, and the Vienna “negotiations” will continue.

Talks will continue until the end of November

Interestingly enough, they will go until the end of November 2014, that is well after the US mid-term political elections. Pure coincidence? Or is this a clever political calculation on the part of the Obama administration to make sure that the “Iran going nuclear” issue will not play in the upcoming political campaign?

President Rouhani wins

Be that as it may, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins. Granted, this is only a tactical victory. But he gets to keep this Vienna talks farce going, this way gaining every day a little more respectability and good will.

Bear in mind that at the end of the road, it will be America’s political responsibility to determine that Iran’s has not negotiated in good faith; that its nuclear program betrays the goal to acquire nuclear weapons, and that this outcome is unacceptable.

And Rouhani would say to the world: “No, no. You got it all wrong. We only want civilian nuclear power. And you cannot prevent us from getting it. You see, we made an honest case for this legitimate aspiration. And this is why we engaged, full of optimism and good will, in the serious Vienna talks.  And now, after we have made so much progress, you do not want a deal. This means that you are prejudiced against us”.

What will America do?

I seriously doubt that this hesitant administration has the will and the resourcefulness to counter Tehran’s probable public relations offensive, if and when the talks finally end.

More to the point, unless Obama wants to sign a really bad deal, the only alternative will be to conclude that the talks failed because Iran is bent on developing nuclear weapons.

But, if this is indeed the case, what will America do? Please do remember that Washington has stated, again and again, that this outcome –Iran with nuclear weapons– is totally unacceptable. That said, negotiations having been unsuccessfully tried, now what?

War with Iran?

Somehow, I see nothing good going forward. I just cannot imagine a lame duck President Obama, (less than two years away from the end of his mandate, come November), starting a war to destroy (or at least degrade) Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

This being the case, if you think rogue Putin is bad news, wait until the ayatollahs have nuclear weapons. Talk about a game changer.


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