Two developments have come across the News wires. First, according to the New York Times, the United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the NY Times goes on to say:
“Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.”
Of course they do. No doubt the Iranians follow the Presidential elections closely. The Russians are also following the elections. Russian President Putin said last month in an interview:
As far as the U.S. is concerned, Putin has made clear that he supports Obama. In an interview with the state controlled television network Russia Today before the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok in September, Putin described Obama as “a very honest man.” He said that they had talked on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos. “And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that… he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”
Putin demonstrates a far less friendly attitude toward Romney who he accused of using inflammatory rhetoric for political advantage. He compared Romney’s statements describing Russia as the U.S.’s number one geopolitical foe to inciting racial tension domestically. “It has the same effect on the international area,” Putin said, “when a politician, a person who aspires to led a nation… proclaims someone to be an enemy.”
So let’s parse this out for a moment. Iran decides 2 1/2 weeks before the election to “say” they are ready to negotiate, but they won’t do so until after the election. If they are not ready to sit down until after the election, why is this in the News now? Could it be a partial “October surprise” hoping to get Americans to back Obama, since the Iranians prefer Obama, as the Russians prefer Obama? Is it to take the “news” off of Benghazi, especially right before the debate on Foreign policy? The Times article, also includes these comments on Romney and this development:
“It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.”
And just where is Israel in all this? Of course they must be included, right? The Times goes on to say:
“Israeli officials initially expressed an awareness of, and openness to, a diplomatic initiative. But when asked for a response on Saturday, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael B. Oren, said the administration had not informed Israel, and that the Israeli government feared Iran would use new talks to “advance their nuclear weapons program.”
This writer is unimpressed with this “development”. Let me be clear: no one wants “thermo-nuclear war”,and any chance at avoiding such a scenario is always preferred. And this comes so close to a much needed “homerun” by Obama in Monday’s debate, one could surmise this is one way to “add” a “positive” talking point to a lacking record on Foreign policy. In the very least, this sure is a “timely” development in US Foreign policy news, don’t you agree?
Second item making headlines, “in unrelated events” the White House has “changed” the Benghazi narrative again! See article here.
UPDATE 10/20/12 9:43pmET: Associated Press and other News agencies are reporting the National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor is stating
“The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one with Iran to find a diplomatic settlement to the impasse over Tehran’s reported pursuit of nuclear weapons, but there’s no agreement now to meet.”
UPDATE 10/21/2012 10:35amET Reuters posts this article stating Iran also is “denying that the two countries had scheduled direct bilateral negotiations on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.”
We will continue to update this post as the story progresses.