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The Rosett Report

The Upside of Russia’s Threat to Trash the Iran Nuclear Talks

March 21st, 2014 - 7:32 pm

In response to U.S. and European Union sanctions on a number of Russian officials, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, has threatened that Russia might change its stance on the Iran nuclear talks. That could put an end to the official unity with which the permanent five Security Council members — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany (dubbed the P5+1) — have been holding talks in Vienna with Iran, over Iran’s nuclear program.

And if the P5+1 start quarreling among themselves, while bargaining with Iran, that might sabotage the Iran nuclear talks.

This is playing in the press as something to be alarmed about. Actually, if Russia does go ahead and cause trouble at the Iran nuclear talks, Moscow might quite unintentionally be doing the West a great favor. I’ve been in Vienna for the first two rounds of these talks, Feb. 18-20 and March 18-19, and there’s no sign that this diplomatic process is going to stop Iran from getting the bomb. Rather, Iran is making some temporary and reversible concessions, while continuing to enrich uranium, and refusing to give up its ballistic missile program or abandon construction of a heavy-water de facto plutonium-factory reactor near Arak. Reuters reports that Iran is continuing its illicit activities for procuring items for its missile and nuclear programs.

Meanwhile, as part of the diplomatic interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action, Iran is enjoying some relief from sanctions, and Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has been jetting around the world declaring his country has an “inalienable right” to enrich uranium, and soliciting help for Iran with nuclear technology. Whatever “isolation” had been imposed on Iran’s diplomats (and there has been precious little of that, if any), Zarif when he comes to Vienna for the nuclear talks is treated as a special guest of the Austrian government, which has been picking up the tab for Zarif to bunk down in a former Viennese palace, now a gorgeously restored, lavishly appointed hotel. For more on both the amenities and the follies of these nuclear talks, see my Wall Street Journal op-ed on “Waltzing With Iran in the Nuclear Ballroom.”

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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If the talks are aborted, Iran will issue terms to the US, and Obama will sign it
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for staying on this story, Claudia.

Concur w/ below commenters that the US under this crowd will be able and willing to benefit from any opportunities that may come its way.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I still say that the Israelis will have the last word and that the Saudis will hold their coats. Yes there is tension between the Saudis and the Israelis BUT there is no division between them and what an Iranian bomb would mean. It is an existential threat to the House of Saud. Just as it is to the Jews. I think that they can reach an accommodation. The issues remain the distance of the targets for the Israelis and the proximity of Iran to the Saudis. If this isn't a solution to a problem and a win-win for both, I don't know what would be.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
It isn't as if we, or the world, are going to do anything anyway, talks or not.

No, all we can do is hope that Israel keeps Iran off balance long enough that in 3 1/2 years, we'll see a replay of the 444 day scenario. American Bad@ss hits the stage, world senses America's resolve, game over.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, dupe deleted.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
What he is doing is pretty obvious. Nature abhors a vacuum and all that. But he needs to be careful with Iran. They are a loose cannon. The first flash of instant sunshine could well occur in his back yard.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin is crudely brilliant. He sees a vacuum in world leadership on the part of the US, recognizes it may only be temporary, and seizes as much of what he wants while he can. He also realizes that even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency after Obama, she may not be quite as naïve as this president who may be the most naïve foreign policy executive we have had since Carter. He will make his grabs, consolidate them and if he sees that the next administration is as soft as this one, he will pounce again. Putin isn't going anywhere. His only fears probably exist in his own country.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Iran is continuing its illicit activities for procuring items for its missile and nuclear programs."
The Russians are actually helping Iran build more reactors; while simultaneously talking about sanctions etc. The U.N. is firmly on the side of dictators, and in the meantime Russia is using it as an expansionist tool. What could possibly go wrong?
Putin alone, stands as a frightening reminder of how Hitler operated. No ... history does NOT repeat itself; but evil does; since it is not creative enough to come up with something new. Putin wants to have his own czardom; HIS OWN !!!! He's a nut and has rabid ambitions of the glory of himself ruling the biggest kingdom on earth.
How in the HELL can anyone negotiate with THAT???
The time for talk is over ... WAAAAY over. Obama better get off his derriére 'cos he's putting us all in a very difficult situation with his foolishness.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
" if Russian pique leads to a collapse of the Iran nuclear talks — ending the diplomatic charades in Vienna — that might just be the best news to come along on the diplomatic front in quite some time."

Yes, it's all an extended Kabuki dance anyway.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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