September 1, 2013
THE GUARDIAN VS THE CONSERVATIVES:
Oman sultan's visit reportedly a mediation bid between Iran and U.S. (Paul Richter, August 30, 2013, LA Times)
As the hardliners recognize, when two sides sit down to negotiate one has already lost. Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2013 8:20 AMIranian newspapers are reporting that a visit to Tehran this week by the leader of the Persian Gulf state of Oman was aimed at beginning quiet talks between the United States and the Islamic Republic. [...]Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been staunchly opposed to any concessions to the West on the nuclear program. But years of U.S. and European sanctions have badly hurt Iran's economy. The country's newly installed president, Hassan Rouhani, campaigned on a promise that he would seek to reduce Western sanctions.Qaboos reportedly received special treatment during his three-day visit, which began Sunday and included meetings with Khamenei, Rouhani and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's new foreign minister.Takeyh, who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations, said Qaboos' objective might have been leaked to the newspapers by conservative elements opposed to any deal with the United States.