Song: “Stranger in Moscow” by the late and great, Michael Jackson
Julian Borger, Laura Rozen and Scott Peterson report on the “wide gap” and the “nitty gritty” details of the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) in Moscow. Long story short: Iran is arguing that the West–though primarily the U.S. egged on by the “Zionist regime” and a like-minded Congress–are asking for too much while offering too little. The Iranians are accordingly at least posturing like they won’t move on a major point of interest unless something gives. (Recall that prior to the disappointment of Baghdad, Iran indicated that it could budge on 20% enrichment and offer increased and “permanent” monitoring of their nuclear program in return for real incentives.) Iranian hyperbolic paranoia notwithstanding, when it comes to Congress, Tehran’s argument is hard to deny. For its part the West seems unwilling to go big as some have suggested or reconsider its recent offering which was received by the Iranians like a bunch of sticks and a half-eaten, moldy carrot. While the lack of real progress gives the usual suspects reason to be gleeful since the prospect of a military confrontation will seem more likely, people with real-world policy expertise remind us that diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.
Meanwhile Jonathan Bernstein injects some sense into the opinion pages of the Washington Post regarding Mitt Romney’s latest ridiculisums on Iran, Kenneth Waltz pens a taboo opinion on Iran nuclear weapons, the U.S. continues its dangerous bargaining game with the terrorist-designated Mujahideen-e-khalq (MEK), and George Perkovich explains why “A Nuclear Deal Helps Human Rights in Iran“.