April 4, 2015

WHENEVER TWO SIDES SIT DOWN TO NEGOTIATE...:

An Iran Nuclear Deal Built on Coffee, All-Nighters and Compromise (DAVID E. SANGER and MICHAEL R. GORDON, APRIL 3, 2015, NY Times)

The agreement calls for Tehran to slash its stockpile of nuclear materials and severely limit its enrichment activities, theoretically bringing the time it would take to produce a nuclear weapon to a year -- a significant rollback from the current estimate of two to three months.

Both sides made significant compromises. For the United States, that meant accepting that Iran would retain its nuclear infrastructure in some shrunken form. For Iran, it meant severe limits on its production facilities and submitting to what Mr. Obama has called the most intrusive inspections regime in history. [...]

Wherever Wendy Sherman, the lead American negotiator, traveled in the ornate hotel here, she was trailed by a whiteboard, where the Iranians and the Americans marked down their understandings, sometimes in both English and Persian.

The board served a major diplomatic purpose, letting both sides consider proposals without putting anything on paper. That allowed the Iranians to talk without sending a document back to Tehran for review, where hard-liners could chip away at it, according to several American officials interviewed for this article, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

"It was a brilliantly low-tech solution," one White House official said. [...]

As the negotiations sputtered forward, it became clear that to reach an agreement at all, Iran would have to be able to preserve a narrative of not backing down, not dismantling. [...]


As the talks grew more intense in the past two months, the Iranians decided to bring in their minister of atomic energy, prompting Mr. Obama to send Ernest Moniz, his energy secretary and one of the nation's leading nuclear scientists. This changed the dynamic. The two men set up a separate process and, as one senior administration official said, "they treated these matters as scientific problems."


...one has already lost.  The Iranians decided to trade their nuclear program for economic groweth but had to do it in a way that saved some face.  We have an interest both in limiting the program and in kicking their economy into gear, we couldn't lose.  

Posted by at April 4, 2015 9:34 AM
  

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