May 22, 2008


Iran's surprise package tests waters (Kaveh L Afrasiabi, 5/22/08, Asia Times)

This may well mean that Iran is open to the idea of a temporary suspension of uranium-enrichment activities for the duration of negotiations, as reportedly called for by the Iran Six nations in their new "incentive package" to Iran, due to be delivered shortly by a delegation led by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana.

Since any such compromise on Iran's part may be negatively interpreted in the region and beyond as a sign of Iran's weakness, it must be linked to certain value-adding, prestige-enhancing results for Iran's foreign policy, otherwise it will be a hard sell at home. As a regional power that is concerned about the prospects of a regional nuclear arms race, Iran can definitely take some of the steam from the engine of proliferation in Persian Gulf and beyond by striking a deal that brings greater stability to the region and, simultaneously, compensates for its nuclear compromise by increasing its regional clout through the arch of "collective cooperation", to cite Iran's package.

As Seif Al-Islam received the credit for bartering away Libya's imaginary nuclear weapons program--thereby strengthening his reform movement--so must we make sure that Ahmedinejad doesn't get credit when Iran "abandon's" its own. In fact, end-running and publicly humiliating him would best serve our ends.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 22, 2008 8:01 AM
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