Iran War: Probably Less Likely, At Least As It Seems Today

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Today's news on the Iran negotiations front good for those less than eager for full-scale war over there:

A demand by the United States, France, Britain and Germany that Iran commit to a prolonged freeze on uranium enrichment has been softened to require only suspension during talks on an offer made by six countries Tuesday in a bid to defuse the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program, the diplomats said.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the Islamic republic would have to stop enriching uranium during negotiations but could resume after a deal was struck.

And while all the details of last week's incentives offer to Iran have not been made officially public,

some of the offer's contents have been leaked, revealed major concessions by the United States including an offer to join key European nations in providing some nuclear technology to Tehran if it stops enriching uranium, diplomats say.

Providing additional details, a diplomat said Wednesday that the package dangles the prospect of lifting an embargo on airplane parts and planes, letting Iran replenish its aging civilian fleet of Boeing and other planes.

I suspect that as long as the regime there remains unchanged and the threat of the 12th Imam looms, there will be loud and influential voices in America calling for a takedown of Tehran. But right this minute, a path to a face-saving settlement is visible. I wrote last week on the incentives for and against war in Iran.

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  1. Okay, look, I’m not going to argue for war with Iran, but doesn’t this sound like a repeat of the “deal” with North Korea’s Gargoyle-in-Chief that led to a kimchi-scented nuke?

  2. There wasn’t a chance in hell that “full-scale war” was going to happen anyway, at least barring a 9/11 scale attack perpetrated by the Iranian government or one of its proxies, so that’s really a moot point. The latest diplomatic overtures do, perhaps, reduce the odds of airstrikes eventually being carried out against Iran’s uranium enrichment/conversion facilities, but only by a little.

  3. Three cheers for Old Europe!

  4. Au contraire, Clean Hands! This one is even looser than the Agreed Framework deal with Kim — he was at least expected to pretend to halt enrichment, whereas Iran will only be expected to pretend to slow down enrichment.

    Basically this is the Western powers giving up an going for a face-saving deal, presumably on the theory that when it turns out that, gosh, the Iranians have been cheating like everyone knew they will, this particular bunch of leaders will be out of office and someone else will have to deal with it.

    It’s stupid, it’s cynical, but it’s cheaper than war for the moment.

  5. I, for one, welcome our new turban-wearing overlords!

  6. It’s stupid, it’s cynical, but it’s cheaper than war for the moment.

    So I guess the pacifist wing of the libertarian party is rejoicing, right?

  7. I’m not the pacifist wing of the librarian party, but if we spent just one tenth as much effort trying to pinpoint how US official policy is pissing off the world…

  8. I’m not the pacifist wing of the librarian party, but if we spent just one tenth as much effort trying to pinpoint how US official policy is pissing off the world…

    I’d love to get a better explanation of just what the pacifist wing of the Libertarian Party is. I’ve always thought of us as wings of other parties, does our party really have wings?

    Isolationists, I suppose there’s some of them, but self-described pacifists? …as a wing of the LP? …which delights at the prospect of a non-confrontation with Iran?

    I suppose it could have been worse–he might have suggested there was an appeasement wing of the Libertarian Party.

  9. Do recent events in Somalia make the imperialist wing of the Republican Party rejoice?

    …Some of their stated policy positions seem imperialist to me, but I don’t think I’d say there was an imperialist wing of the Republican Party.

  10. Actually, the US broke the framework with North Korea, refusing to deliver on the promised goodies, before Kim decided to break the seals and crank the uranium enrichment up.

    And the Korean plutonium program was never part of the deal at all, because we had no idea there was any plutonium enrichment.

    No, this is not a statement of support for Kim. Just the fact, ma’am.

  11. Quite right joe — thanks for the corrections.

    I should say, though, that I doubt that anyone on either side of the NK Agreed Framework really expected it to work: We knew that Kim would cheat (though as you note didn’t anticipate how) and Kim if he wasn’t a fool realized the light water reactors would never in a million years actually arrive. The deal was a play for time on both sides, and a success for all that.

    Nuclear diplomacy is really a litany of hypocrisy by everyone involved. The nuclear powers are nowhere near keeping their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but are zealous at holding certain disfavored non-nuclear powers to an implausibly strict interpretation; at the same time, more and more countries are playing the treaty like an orchestral instrument to take themselves to the brink of having nuclear weapons without first exercising their right to withdraw from the treaty (which might provide diplomatic cover to their neigbors).

    There’s really not an honest soul in the room when it comes to nukes. Radiation exposure gives politicians mutant super-dishonesty or something.

  12. “I’d love to get a better explanation of just what the pacifist wing of the Libertarian Party is. I’ve always thought of us as wings of other parties, does our party really have wings?”

    Ken Shultz,
    The cutest thing about the librarian party is that it is so minuscule, each wing is associated with a person’s name/nom de plume here on H&R.

    Do you know what the maxipad said to the fart?
    You are the wind beneath my wings.

  13. The cutest thing about the librarian party is that it is so minuscule, each wing is associated with a person’s name/nom de plume here on H&R.

    That’s so true, and in the eyes of some, every commenter speaks for the whole damn party. …even the commenters that disagree with each other.

    …but I’d still be interested to find out which name(s) RC associates with the pacifist wing of the LP.

  14. Eventually, nearly every nation on Earth will have nukes. And at some time in the future, there will be an exchange between two or more nations.

    There are no good choices when dealing with the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    It’ll only take one suicidal (and homicidal) nut to cause the extinction of humanity.

    Oh well, have a nice day!

  15. Of course, the only reason the Ayatollahs have the balls to pursue this brinkmanship is that they know we’re far too over extended militarily and diplomatically from our little exercise in nation building – you remember, the War we had to get rid of those WMDs…

  16. Look, you go to war with the country you’d like to have WMDs, not the country that actually has WMDs.

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