Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Iran: A dangerous dance

This most recent piece of mine for Antiwar.com was written before Condi Rice denounced the Iranian show at Saturday's multilateral-but-face-to-face meeting with the nuclear negotiator for Iran. It posits that there were two possible explanations for agreeing to meet face-to-face before Iran actually gave up uranium enrichment, which had been the U.S. precondition: either we're in the first stages of a mild thaw with Iran or the decision has been made to do some kind of military action and the diplomatic move was undertaken just so the U.S. would be able to say it had tried everything, sweetened the deal immeasurably, and Iran was simply unreasonable and intransigent and there's no choice left but to whack them with some super bunker busters. It might still be true that no decision has been made, but the powers-that-be think the initial meeting leaves either course open and the decider can decide later. It might even be that Condi's denunciation is intended to let the Iranians know that if there's to be a diplomatic path we have to see at least some token gesture of wanting to cooperate (even though Iran holds more cards than we do). I still think Condi has an interest in seeing a diplomatic path open -- and she may agree, though I can't be sure. Israel may yet be the wild card. It strikes me as a dangerous time.

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