Cracks are appearing in Iran’s high political circles that could threaten its stance in nuclear negotiations. Until now, Iran’s leadership has sought to put aside its differences and present a unified front when discussing the nuclear program with the West. This may no longer be the case.The WSJ has the story:
Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, have both suggested they hoped Iran and the West would be able to gain each other’s trust and move forward in Istanbul. They are seen to be in Mr. Khamenei’s camp…And on Monday, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, raised the possibility that Iran could suspend enrichment to the 20% level of purity if its needs were met.But Mr. Ahmadinejad, facing a fresh impeachment threat this week from the parliament, took a defiant tone in a speech on Wednesday in the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm.“Iran will not back down even an iota from its nuclear rights, you [Western countries] will be forced to change your attitude toward Iran,” said Mr. Ahmadinejad, according to Iran’s official news agency.
There are those in Iran saying “Mr. Khamenei should drink the jar of poison and compromise with the West.” It’s a riff off the compromise Ayatollah Khomeini made with Iraq to end the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. As was the case then, Iran’s top political leaders are not wholly united on how to deal with the most pressing security issues; some favor coming to an agreement with the West.Let’s hope these elements eventually win the day. With sanctions increasing pressure on Iranian citizens (prices for basic goods like gasoline, rice and bread are climbing higher every day) and with the political stability of President Ahmadinejad, who has long been one of the more confrontational of Iran’s leaders, looking more and more shaky, that hope might not be so far-fetched.