An expert former analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency is saying that the Obama administration is closer to a nuclear deal with Iran than they are letting on.Paul R. Pillar, a 28-year veteran analyst for the CIA, recently published an article stating that the economic sanctions against Iran is crushing the government. Not only is Iran’s government buckling, but its citizens are staging protests for the first time since the election, due in large part to their currency collapse.
But by almost all accounts, Iran is just as determined to continue enriching uranium as the U.S. is to stop them, and Israel is in borderline attack-mode.
Pillar seems to think these competing positions are all just a part of the internation game of compromise. From his article:
Do not be misled by what may seem like a big distance between the two sides’ current positions, as highlighted by hard-line statements on either side that emphasise the unacceptability of the other side’s current position. That too is standard in international negotiations. Each side stakes out a “bargaining position” that is not to be confused with a final requirement.
The disagreement is over a nuclear site called “Fordrow,” and Iran has already made an offer, a “9-step plan,” which David E. Sanger of the New York Times reported on Oct. 4, though Sanger seemed a bit less defined as Pillar.
He reported that while the Iranian plan was on the table in the U.S., Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shocked his countrymen by stating that Iran’s currency and economy was under no duress. On the flip side, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the U.S. has no intention of striking a deal with Iran.
Then Sanger quotes an unnamed official as saying that sanctions take a while to put in place, while Iran could restart it’s nuclear program in a “nanosecond.”
Pillar response to that:
It would take a whole lot of nanoseconds for Iran to do anything in violation of an agreement that would have significance for the development of nuclear weapons. And as for sanctions, the reality is the opposite of what the official said … politically it is far easier to impose sanctions on Iran than to lift them. If Tehran were to renege on a nuclear agreement, it would be easier still (not just in Washington, but in other Western capitals).
Pillar’s estimate of the situation is that the Obama administration is closer to a deal with Iran than what anyone really thinks, and that that deal would go through shortly after Obama is re-elected, if he is re-elected. To Pillar, the defining (and defending) of positions in the nuclear debate is not a step toward disagreement, but the first step toward meaningful negotiation.
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