Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Iran Is Trying to Talk

According to Iran in the World:

The ISIS writes that while the number of active centrifuges has decreased from 4,920 in June to 4,592, the increased number of total centrifuges (now 8,308) is significant as filling them with uranium is a “relatively minor step”.

This relatively minor technical distinction seems to me to constitute an extremely important negotiating tactic: namely, “Look, we can do what you don’t want, but we are offering to desist. We are developing the capacity for a nuclear breakout; Israel did it; we have every reason to match them. However, we are willing to relinquish our right: make it worth our while."

Iran has absolutely no reason to trust the West. Iranian leaders would be remiss to give something away for nothing. But this either is an offer to compromise or could be transformed into one by skillful Western diplomacy.

Washington needs to seize the moment, treat it as an offer, and make an attractive counteroffer. If I were an Iranian national security official, what I would want as a counter would be the international imposition of some constraint on the Israeli nuclear juggernaut.

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