L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

10 July 2006 Blog Home : July 2006 : Permalink

Iran's Nukes

According to the BBC, on Friday the ostriches in Brussels and Vienna were "upbeat" about their attempts to buy off the Iranian regime:

Talks between the EU and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme have got off to a good start, an EU official says.

Foreign policy chief Javier Solana's spokeswoman said the talks were the basis for a positive second meeting, scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

She said Iran would give the meeting a "substantial response" to an incentives package agreed by world powers in June.

Earlier the UN nuclear watchdog chief said the world was "impatient" at Iran's failure so far to respond.

Mohamed ElBaradei said the earlier Tehran gave an anwer on the offer, the better it would be for everyone. The package is aimed at persuading Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

This upbeatness is despite a few worries from correspondents who think the Iranians are just playing:

Correspondents say Iran's announcement that it wanted to postpone the EU talks appeared to be linked to a visit to the European parliament by the leader of a controversial exiled Iranian opposition group.

The BBC's Pam O'Toole says the postponement has stoked suspicions in some Western countries that Iran, under threat of UN Security Council action if it rejects the package, is playing for time.

Curiously the BBC is unable to find space to report the news that ElBaradei has been doing his absolute best to make sure that his organizations inspections in Iran disturbed the mullahs as little as possible by firing the lead inspector. If this is true, and it certainly looks to be, with Reuters reporting confirmation, then Iran has surely just removed most of the doubt that it is trying to create a nuclear weapon.

Where we go from here is less clear, but I think it is fairly clear that from now on, no one is going to expect the Iranians to be any more truthful in their negotiations than the North Koreans were. This won't stop a bunch of Guardianistas from insisting that we have to continue negotiations anyway but I suspect that everyone else is going to be looking at other options. It will be fascinating to see the reaction from London, Paris and Berlin where the leaders must be feeling particularly peeved at the Iranian behaviour.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin