WATCH THIS WITH BOTH EYES – AT 9:57 A.M. ET: And make to take anti-nausea pills. There is now sudden "optimism" – read that as "self-delusion" – on the part of diplomats dealing with the Iranian nuclear program. We're now four days away from a major negotiating session that will be held in Baghdad. From Reuters:
Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog are making headway towards a framework deal on how to tackle concerns about its atomic activity, diplomats said on Friday, a potential bargaining chip for Tehran in next week's negotiations with world powers.
Iran says such an agreement is needed before it can consider a request by UN inspectors to visit the Parchin military site where they believe explosives tests relevant for developing nuclear weapons may have been carried out.
Oh really? In other words, come to an agreement with us, then we'll consider your request. In the meantime, you'll be flying blind.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran held talks this week in Vienna and are due to meet again on May 21, two days before Tehran and the six global powers discuss the future of its disputed nuclear program in Baghdad.
Western diplomats accredited to the UN agency said Iran seemed keen to agree a so-called "structured approach" - an outline of how to deal with the IAEA's questions - ahead of Baghdad in the apparent hope of gaining leverage there.
Translated: Any agreement now would give Iran what it wants so far.
They say they would welcome any sign that Iran is prepared to stop stonewalling an almost four-year-old IAEA investigation based on Western intelligence suggesting Iran has researched ways to acquire the ability to produce nuclear bombs.
But they caution that it remains to be seen whether an understanding with IAEA is implemented in practice, saying Iran in the past has used haggling over procedural matters as a way to buy more time as its nuclear program advances.
It would be "a step forward on the process side," one diplomat said about the possibility of an agreement to be announced on Monday, suggesting it would signal real progress "if it gets us to where we can finally address substance."
He said it would be a relatively brief document on the scope and principles of how to pursue talks regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program: "No real details. Just a precursor to starting to ask real questions."
COMMENT: What an absolute farce. How many years has the West been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program? It's got to be the better part of a decade. And we may get an agreement that may lead to discussions over substance if the first agreement can be agreed upon, and its detailed then agreed upon.
And all the while, the centrifuges in Iran keep spinning. Aren't we lucky?
Let's face it, the person allowing this to happen is Barack Obama, who has one objective: getting re-elected. He doesn't want any confrontation with Iran before the election, especially a confrontation that would drive up oil prices. And he certainly doesn't want an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear installations.
As the story suggests, the Iranians are buying time. And we know the reason. And some mature adults are going to have to deal with this.
May 19, 2012