Speaking today on ABC News, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set the stage for the predicted failure of the mid-April P5+1 talks in Turkey. She issued a series of demands that were the condition for avoiding war with Iran.
Iran cannot even theoretically produce publicly the evidence of a program it doesn’t have in the first place, and this is just the latest reason that the anticipated talks will be another high profile opportunity for dissembling, and not diplomacy.
The talks have been presented by US officials as the “last chance” for Iran to avoid an attack by either the US, Israel, or some combination thereof, and since the talks were initially agreed to by Iran have been presented as doomed to failure. It doesn’t seem likely that there will even be a meaningful topic of discussion for the two sides, with the US expected to simply shake its fists angrily for two days, and both sides to come home insisting they made some key rhetorical point.
One might imagine this makes the talks a colossal waste of everyone’s time, but the US at least has proudly touted the last few rounds of “designed to fail” talks as a whopping success, integral in getting international support (or in the case of China and Russia acquiescence) on imposing new sanctions and making more threats against Iran.
A new UN Security Council resolution reiterating their approval of the Kofi Annan ceasefire deal in Syria and urging both sides to stop fighting by April 10 has been stalled on specific wording, with the US seemingly trying to work the resolution into some sort of mandate.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, one of the leading advocates of regime change in Syria, has condemned the UN Security Council for failing to issue a mandate already, saying that their lack of resolutions amounts to support for the regime.
Iran ducks away from nuclear talks. Moscow: Mid East at boiling point DEBKAfileExclusive ReportApril 4, 2012, 9:13 AM (GMT+02:00)
Iranian spokesmen are maneuvering for a postponement of the nuclear negotiations with world powers set to take place April 13-14 in Istanbul,DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report. It is feared in Washington and Jerusalem that Tehran is working toward two goals: To have the venue removed from Istanbul and to buy a couple more months before the diplomatic crunch, considering that the US and Israel are treating the April talks as the last chance for diplomacy to reverse Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon. A postponement would therefore delay any military option that Israel or possibly America would choose to exercise. The Iranians want the site moved to Moscow, Vienna or Geneva, a change opposed by Washington because it would consume several more months before the talks got started. Tehran is also signaling through Moscow that it is not prepared for the diplomatic dialogue to take place under military threat or economic sanctions. While Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refrained from mentioning military options in presenting his government’s three-year record Tuesday, April 3 – ignoring the three large-scale military movements afoot by the US, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Greece - and Israel itself, Moscow is talking about an imminent military conflagration as a result of the continuing US and Israeli military buildup in the Persian Gulf. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday, April 3: “The Middle East standoff could boil over into military action at any moment.” Referring to the massing of military and naval forces in the Persian Gulf, he said: The pot can explode if the diplomatic valve is not opened.” He made no mention of the scheduled April 13-14 nuclear talks. One of the most influential figures in today’s Tehran Mohsen Rezaie was more explicit: “Given the fact that our friends in Turkey have failed to fulfill some of our agreements, the talks… had better be held in another friendly country.” He did not specify which agreements Ankara had failed to meet, but his rejection of Istanbul as the venue for the talks was unqualified. Strong criticism of the Erdogan government also came from a senior member of Iran’s parliamentary foreign policy and national security commission Esmaeel Kosari. He said during a visit to Azerbaijan:”Turkey serves as the United States and Israel’s messenger and mediator. The Turkish government will be hated by its citizens if it continues this role.”
In Iran’s political culture, neither of these men would have spoken without a green light from the office of the all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Kosari’s mission in Baku was to investigate recent reports that Azerbaijan had given Israeli permission for its bases to be used by the Israeli Air Force in an attack on Iran. Early Wednesday, April 4, Iraqi officials suddenly offered Baghdad as the venue for the forthcoming world power talks with Iran. The US and Israel are certain to reject this offer because it would give Tehran the important edge of a key diplomatic event taking place on pro-Iranian soil.