Saturday, 20 October 2007

Iran's diplomatic voice of moderation silenced

One semi-moderate hardliner (Larijani) is dismissed as another ultra-hardliner (Pres. Ahmadinejad) stands

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, viewed by the West as a moderating influence in Tehran, resigned before crucial talks with Europe this week over Iran’s nuclear program, signaling that officials here may have closed the door to any possible negotiated settlement in its standoff with the West.

How will the resignation of Larijani affect the already-deadlocked negotiations between Iran and the West over its 'peaceful' — which UN Security Council veto-welder Russia troublingly believes it is — nuclear program. Will the Islamic state become more radical — and rogue?

A BBC News reader summed this all up best: "The Iranian president obviously feel[s] he holds the all the aces". When — if ever — will the ayatollah step in to help relieve the massive tension between Iran and the international community, as he has before (e.g. with the recent temporary release of a jailed scholar)? Has the tipping point for US-Iran relations come to pass, meaning a potentially successful one-on-one meeting is not a possibility whatsoever? (Stubbornness on both sides is to blame.)

Iran has been offered a huge amount of incentives by American and European diplomats; it has played games and refused to take the rational action. Ahmadinejad is probbaly just waiting out for a sweeter deal, as diplomacy is currently at a virtual standstill, similar to the one worked out with North Korea. But whereas N Korea had only nukes, Iran, which is still in the early stages of nuclear development, has plenty of something everyone wants: oil.

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