Much atalk about nothing


Iran Focus


The strongest message out of the nuclear talks with Iran over the weekend was that western powers are willing to tolerate even the most egregious violations and intransigence by a pariah state only if it agrees to talk nicely. For merely agreeing to talk about talking Tehran was rewarded with less pressure and more time, with the second round of negotiations to be held in late May in Baghdad, of all places. But, clearly, expecting Iran to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty should not require any convincing at all, let alone a decade of negotiations.

It defies common sense that the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) has once again been lured by Tehran into repeating the same mistakes while expecting different results (Einstein called this the very definition of insanity). Almost 10 years of failed negotiations and constant concessions have given no reason to pin hopes on further negotiations.

If one were to take evidence and hard facts as one's sole guide (instead of taking the words of regime officials at face value), with each round of negotiations, Tehran has been able to create rifts in the international coalition against it, build a stronger technical infrastructure, buy more time, add to its enriched uranium stockpile, and improve its capacity to manufacture the bomb.

As a result of the latest round of talks in Istanbul, the Iranian regime has several more months to continue production of 20 percent enriched uranium at underground facilities with complete impunity while potentially forestalling the implementation of a European oil embargo scheduled to take effect in July.

It is no wonder that Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, has called the talks a "step forward." If the history of the negotiations is any guide, the next round of talks will include talking about further talks, ultimately with the Iranian regime taking another "step forward."

In this environment, even the current loose sanctions system that have been hurting the regime in the short term are not strategically detrimental for it, because their real effects are offset by political leniency in the West. A cost-benefit analysis in Tehran would simply argue for pursuing a strategic guarantee for survival, the nuclear bomb.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, the West has other options that better compliment sanctions, the most viable of which is to encourage fundamental change towards democracy by recognizing the Iranian people and their organized opposition as crucial players.

The current strategy of being enamoured with Tehran talking nicely is terribly counterproductive and only serves to embolden the regime. On Tuesday, a military parade was held near Tehran where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again warned the regime's "enemies."  According to reports, Iran's army chief Ataollah Salehi said on the same day that his forces see U.S. warships in the Gulf as "sweet targets." That is not progress for a peaceful solution.


Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE