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Russians Rush In
Iran Nuclear Negotiations Stalled

As the deadline for an agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear programs approaches, negotiations appear to have ground to a halt. Now the diplomats involved are starting to discuss a further extension of the deadline, the Wall Street Journal reports:

“If by whatever reason, by whatever development, we’re not there, I think we will have time in the evening of the 23rd to develop an alternative, to develop a solution, that would not kill the chances,” Russia’s lead negotiator at the talks, Sergei Ryabkov, told reporters. “But that would be the worst possible outcome.” […]

“We are not still in the position to say we made progress,” [Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas] Araghchi told Iranian state media in Muscat. “We are hopeful we will make it, though it will be very difficult.” […]

U.S. officials have said privately in recent days that an extension may be sought. But publicly, top aides to President Barack Obama said that Nov. 24 was still the focus of their diplomacy, which will move to Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 18 for a week of talks up to the deadline.

As the article notes, the negotiations so far have failed to reach any consensus about the fundamental questions of a nuclear deal: how to restrict Iran’s nuclear capacity and how to alter the sanctions against Iran accordingly. Nor have external pressures on the Administration lapsed—Israeli PM Netanyahu is as concerned as ever about the prospects of a deal that could keep Tehran tantalizingly close to the bomb, while the incoming Republican majority in the Senate looks set to do what it can to disrupt any deal it thinks is too soft on Iran.

Meanwhile, Russia’s recent commitment to construct up to eight nuclear reactors in Iran is an interesting side-development. As the WSJ mentions, it is, in part, representative of growing trade ties between Iran and Russia. But as we noted a couple weeks ago, some Administration officials involved in the talks clearly believed that Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran could provide an outlet for a successful deal. The news that Russia is moving ahead with their nuclear cooperation while these talks have stalled only strengthens our first impression: that the Russian solution to the Iranian problem was wishful thinking.

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  • Fat_Man

    The Iranians and the Russians must be ROTFLTAO at Obama’s desperation. I guess they have decided to keep jerking his chain for a while longer. It must amuse them immensely.

    • Corlyss

      The more they stall, the more Doofus will give them. Talk about dowry negotiations! “Morgengabe!” as the Baron Ochs screamed in the middle of the Marschallin’s levee.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Obama is not desperate. He is two years from retirement into ex-presidency—-an existence much more comfortable, where you guys go on to blaming someone else for whatever is going wrong.

      • Fat_Man

        Why wait two years. He could quit today.

        • Corlyss

          He and Val not done destroying the country. And if you want another thought to conjure with, he’s got 40 more years to be a Carter-esque elder statesman, and I use the term loosely. He will NEVER get off the tv – he’ll have another book or two, two years after he leaves office to do his farewell tour, and unlike Bush, he will always be on hand for interviews about subsequent president’s policies and activities in office. It really IS all about Him, you know!

          • FriendlyGoat

            We really ARE short on left-side “elder statesmen” not burdened with having to get re-elected. Somebody should be out there to debate Dick Cheney, you know?

          • Corlyss

            You looking forward to Cheney-Biden linking arms for a “Point-Counterpoint” style program, or segment, on PBS? I think it would be kind of entertaining.

          • FriendlyGoat

            PBS would be okay. Fox News would be better.

          • Fat_Man

            We are going to find out what more anti-American than Carter means.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Actually, making Joe Biden president sometime before 2016 election might actually be worth consideration.

          • Fat_Man

            If only for the comedy.

          • Corlyss

            Are you an Onion operative?

            You do know, right, that even some Dims think Biden has been about as dumb as a living being can possibly be on foreign affairs (the jury is still out on whether he’s even dumber than the dead). The fact is that of all the people Obama could have picked (all of whom would have outshone him, which of course meant they were automatically eliminated from consideration) to compensate for his notable lack of foreign chops, he picked a guy who has demonstrated long term and consistent zero insight into the larger issues in play.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not an operative of anything. I have often been accused of being a paid troll. I’m not paid and I’m not affiliated with any group at all—-other than being registered as a Democratic voter for primary purposes. I’m retired and write on these forums instead of watching TV or working the proverbial crossword puzzles.

            The same people who think Obama is dumb think Biden is dumb. The same people who despise Hillary also think Biden is a joke—-and that Obama should be painted with a little mustache.

      • f1b0nacc1

        He has been doing that since the day he was elected, and quite a bit before that.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The US developed and dropped the first atomic bomb in just a few years. Negotiations to stop Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb, have dragged on now for 15 years. How much longer will this take before the stupid Obama and the leftists in the state department will admit they have failed and it’s time for a military solution? What Never?

    • Fat_Man

      Yes, never. Obama admires the Iranian regime. That is why he would not endorse the anti-regime democratic protesters in 2009. That is why he has blocked Israel’s plans to bomb Iran. The mullahs are safe until 21 Jan 2017.

  • Brett Champion

    This is hardly surprising. There is an avowed red line in this negotiation over the same issue: the number of centrifuges that Iran will be permitted to use. Iran is looking at a number of over 10,000 while the P5+1 is looking for something below 2,000. That’s a big gap. Unless one side is willing to give up something very valuable to get the other to come to its number, then these talks were doomed to fail. If one side does budge, it most certainly will be Iran. If the P5+1 offers a shorter probationary period for Iran or faster sanctions relief, then maybe Iran relents and agrees to come down to the P5+1 number on centrifuges.

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