Friday, October 30, 2009

An Iran conundrum

The merry-go-round of negotiations with Iran keeps spinning . . . and where it stops . . .?

Haaretz reported this morning that Israeli PM Netanyahu now likes the proposed deal with Iran  - whereby Iran would ship as much as 75 percent of its current stock of low-enriched uranium to Russia (and then on to France) for processing and eventually returned to Iran for use in its medical reactor.  (The idea is to buy time to make a longer-term deal with Iran, by getting the supply of enriched uranium out of the country and thus retard any putative progress toward weaponization.)  But now, the NY Times reports, Iran is going to reject that deal, which puts a huge ding in Obama's "engage-Iran" momentum, at least for the time being, and will have the war-hawks in Congress and the punditry screaming "there they go again" (and maybe Tom Friedman has another "screw 'em" essay in store for us?).

Iran's president, Mr. Ahmadinejad, is still touting cooperation with the West, but the real corker here is (as Robert Dreyfuss reports) that the West's Iranian darling, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the focus of the post-elections reform movement there, is blasting Ahmadinejad for his earlier support of this proposal.  In Moussavi's view, Ahmadinejad (the Iranian whom so many Americans just love to hate) is caving to the US and jeopardizing many years of hard work and discovery by Iran's scientists.

So all of a sudden, the man in whom US hopes for regime change in Iran were being invested is coming across as harder-line than Ahmadinejad on the nuclear-program issue. 

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