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Entries in Laura Rozen (9)


Iran Analysis: The Real Explanation for the Delay in New Nuclear Talks

Last week, a couple of curious stories emerged about the proposed resumption of nuclear talks, suspended since a high-level meeting in June in Moscow, between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, Germany, Russia, France, and China). 

Julian Borger of The Guardian declared, "Nuclear Talks with Iran Delayed" because of "internal wrangling" in Tehran. Laura Rozen echoed, "Iran Seen Stalling on Date for Nuclear Talks".

There had to be an explanation --- beyond the blame of Tehran for "internal wrangling" and the declarations of Western officials --- for the clash between Iran's public position welcoming new discussions and the line fed to Borger and Rozen.

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Iran Analysis: Why There is Much Posing --- But No Progress --- On Nuclear Talks

Nuclear negotiators Catherine Ashton & Saeed JaliliWhat is not being made explicit is that the US does not expect reciprocity from Iran. It expects those unilateral concessions.

That offers a stark prospect for Tehran. The Islamic Republic has proclaimed loudly that it wants the renewed talks with the 5+1, accepts the January date, then it does so with the signal that it is willing to make those concessions.

Which is why I'm betting that next week, next month, and beyond January, we will be in a Groundhog's Day of this chatter --- and then the declared March "window" will close for the Iranian Presidential elections.

And then?

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Iran Exclusive: Did Supreme Leader's Top Advisor Meet US Officials in Qatar?

Ali Akbar Velayati & Supreme LeaderAccording to well-placed EA sources, the Supreme Leader's top advisor for foreign policy, Ali Akbar Velayati, has met US officials in Doha in Qatar earlier this month. Velayati and the Americans discussed the renewal of high-level talks over Tehran's nuclear programme.

The account from our sources follows more than a week of reports and rumours about "back-channel" US-Iran discussions.

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Iran Analysis: West To Tehran on Nuclear Issue "Accept Our Demands or No More Talks" (Rozen)

Catherine Ashton and Saeed JaliliEuropean Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told her Iranian counterpart Thursday that Iran needs to agree soon on a plan to stop its 20% enrichment, or there wasn’t much prospect of the current diplomatic track continuing as such indefinitely.

That, anyway, seemed to be the message between the lines of a stark four-line statement she made after a phone call Thursday with Dr. Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

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Iran Document: Tehran's Official Proposals in the Nuclear Talks in Moscow

Moscow Nuclear Talks, 18-19 JuneThe file consists of three major sections:

1. Iran's Package of Proposals to the world Powers
2. Evidence and documents proving that uranium enrichment is Iran's inalienable right despite the western allegations
3. And Iran's response to the proposals offered by the world powers

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Iran Analysis: US Officials on Nuke Talks "We Have A Cunning Plan" (Not Really.)

Laura Rozen, the go-to journalist for inside stories on the nuclear talks between Iran and the "West", posted a significant but curious story last night:

The Obama administration is considering putting forward a broader proposal to Iran, rather than the more incremental one presented at a meeting last month in Baghdad, diplomatic sources told Al-Monitor.

Those arguing in favor of the "go big" approach say their thinking has been influenced by two recent diplomatic encounters with Iran that cast doubt on the viability of an incremental deal, as well as by Israeli concerns over any interim deal being the last one reached with Iran for the next few years, officials said.

That's a great narrative. As it appears that the negotiations with Tehran, stalled in the formal meeting in Baghdad two weeks ago and descending into posturing and criticism afterwards, will break down, Washington brings in the surprise settlement to save the process. Victory snatched from the jaws of diplomatic defeat.

A great narrative and, like many great narratives, entirely fictional.

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Iran Special: The Inside Story of the Nuclear Talks in Istanbul (Rozen)

See also Iran Special: Why Both Sides Shifted in Nuclear Talks --- And What Comes Next

Europe's Catherine Ashton and Iran's Saeed JaliliOver the last three days, we have put out the analysis that 1) sanctions played a role in bringing Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme; 2) Tehran's strategy is to get an easing of those sanctions before it makes any commitment on enrichment of uranium; and 3) the Islamic Republic is concentrating on the European representatives, especially the European Union's Catherine Ashton, to achieve this by splitting them from any "hard line" of the US.

In the most detailed account of last weekend's Istanbul talks so far, Laura Rozen of Al Monitor narrates the story of how the discussions almost collapsed while supporting our interpretation of the Iran's hopes, fears, and manoeuvres:

New details on the Iran nuclear talks in Istanbul this weekend, which were largely touted as being "positive", now show the meeting had, in fact, deteriorated. 

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Libya Snapshot: Why the US Intervened "Up to 100,000 Could Be Massacred"

"This is a limited humanitarian intervention, not war," White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross, National Security Council strategic planning official Derek Chollet, and two military officials told a group of outside foreign policy and Middle East experts during a briefing at the White House Roosevelt Room Tuesday.

"We were looking at 'Srebrenica on steroids' --- the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it," Ross explained.

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Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu Rejects Obama's Plan A --- No Plan B Before Mid-November (Rozen)

Behind the scenes, the Obama administration is still absorbing the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to date rejected a proposed American compromise package that would have offered various security and other assurances to Israel in exchange for a 60-day renewal of a partial West Bank settlement freeze that expired last month. 

The American team is said to be frustrated and upset at Netanyahu’s dismissal to date of the package, which was drafted by the NSC’s Dennis Ross in close consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho. 

“They’re really upset,” one Washington Middle East hand in close contact with administration officials said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, they made this incredibly good faith effort to keep Bibi at the table.” And Bibi proved as yet unwilling to budge."

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