Roger L. Simon

The Whys and the Wherefores

The NYT tells us this evening the “Little Progress Is Seen” in the current round of talks between Britain, France, Germany and Iran about the latter’s nuclear ambitions.

Representatives of three European countries and Iran met Wednesday for the first time since negotiations over Iran’s nuclear development program were suspended four months ago in bitterness. After five hours of closed-door meetings in Vienna, the delegates said the two sides had agreed to hold further talks in January.

The purpose of what European diplomats were calling “talks about talks” was to see if enough common ground existed for the stalled negotiations to resume next year.

“Both sides set out their positions in an open and frank manner,” the leader of the French delegation, Stanislav de Laboulaye, told reporters, using a diplomatic code that usually signifies sharp differences.

Mr. Laboulaye said the delegates would return to their home countries for consultations “with the aim of agreeing on a framework for negotiations.” But it seemed virtually certain that the two sides had failed to agree on resuming substantive talks.

Well, you would think so given the recent comments by “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he has called the Holocaust a myth and said Israel should be ‘wiped off the map.'”

Despite all, however, the mammoth cooperation between France and Iran continues apace. “With the South Pars project, TotalFinaElf has become the foremost oil company in partnership with Iran and has bolstered its position in the Middle East, where the Group has been active for some 75 years.” Holocaust-Shmolocaust.