For a brief moment, it appeared that the world might be on the threshold of a major breakthrough with the nuclear talks and negotiations with Iran. Sorry. The ice proved thinner than we thought.

Negotiators came from Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States and Germany. As the sessions began, the West expected a new proposal from Iran. However, after the first session ended, it became clear this was not the case. Iran offered a proposal largely based what it had offered earlier in Moscow. The Iranians mainly insisted on a recognition of their right to enrich nuclear material as well as a halt to the blockades that have drastic effected the Iranian economy. Nothing new there.

By the time the negotiations ended, the two sides had come no closer to an agreement much less making any progress on tighter controls for international oversight of Iranians enrichment process. Of course, the failure to come to any accord has to be seen as a serious setback for talks and for Iran the meaning is clear. Sanctions aren’t going to be lifted.

Some Iranian news organizations claimed their negotiators offered a temporary  halt to uranium enrichment as a gesture of good faith. This would have been seen as a positive step, but would not have changed the Western position on a halt to the development of nuclear weapons.

In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu has to be ratcheting up his preparation for a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The warning of a strike by Israel had been temporarily shelved to allow diplomatic pressure to work. For the Israeli viewpoint, that process simply doesn’t seem to be working.

The bottom line is clear. Iran has refused to comply with the United Nations Security Council demand that the enrichment of uranium stop and that inspectors be allowed to verify compliance. Even though Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who actively run Iran has declared that the nuclear warfare would be sinful, the fear remains that once such weaponry is developed, the mulahs would change their minds. The potential for devastation is too great to depend on a few vague promises and a seal of approval from Khamenei.

How shall we view this dilemma?

Probably a good Muslim would declare the West should put more confidence in Iran’s holy men. How can they trust us when we don’t trust them?

On the other hand, the West can’t understand why Iran will not allow inspection and cease enrichment up to a weapons-use level, if their intentions are genuine. When the President Ahmadinejad declares they will wipe Israel off the map, one can’t take their contradictory declares seriously except to believe if they had the bomb, they’d have the will to use it.

What’s next?

In ten weeks, the Iranians will hold another election (or sorts). Ten weeks is a long time when their centrifuges are enriching uranium everyday of the week. Can Israel wait and see?

That’s the jackpot question.

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Filed under Iran, middle east, Muslims

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