After lashing out futilely at Israel through botched terror plots in India, Thailand and Georgia, as well as punting on threats to close the Strait of Hormuz and boycott old Europe, the mullahs are suddenly feeling conversational. Writes the Times:
Iran dropped previously unacceptable preconditions for talks in a letter this week from its senior nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, who declared his country’s “readiness for dialogue” at “the earliest possibility.”
It was inevitable that Iran would try this strategy at some point. It’s impossible to tell if the stance is a delaying tactic, represents a real change of heart, or if the mullahs are still keeping their options open as they test the strength of the anti-nuke coalition. (VM guess: number three.)In light of this uncertainty, the US and its allies should stay the course. Keep ratcheting up the pressure and see what the Iranians have in mind. It would be a big mistake to give up leverage as the price of admission to talks. Reductions in pressure and sanctions can be considered, but only in exchange for real and verifiable steps from Iran. Letting the Iranians run out the clock with talks while making steady progress toward nuclear weapons is not an option.Time will tell if the mullahs are ready to budge, and Via Meadia will be watching. A serious and verifiable agreement that keeps Iran well away from nuclear weapons will be hard and perhaps impossible to get, but even as we prepare for other possibilities, the avenue of negotiations must be thoroughly explored.