Monday, May 29, 2006

The nuclear crisis: What's with Iran's new political maneuvers?

Kash Kheirkhah

The New York Times is reporting today that " Iran appears to have slowed its drive to produce nuclear fuel, according to European diplomats who have reviewed reports from inspectors inside the country." and that "The diplomats say the slowdown may be part of a deliberate Iranian strategy to lower the temperature of its standoff with the West over its nuclear program, and perhaps to create an opening for Washington to join the negotiations directly."

This development comes right after the recent revelations that the Iranian leadership-through some back channels-- is doing all it can to lure the US into direct talks with it.

What I see happening here is a pattern of deception fed to Iran's leaders by some behind-the scene hands. Russians' or whoever these hands belong to, the strategy they have engineered is crystal clear: First, to give countries such as Russia, China, a bargaining chip to use in the ongoing, never-ending negotiations over Iran's nuclear crisis in the Security Council and also against any form of sanctions proposed by the US and its allies, and second, to exert more pressure on the US to embark on a long, fruitless path of negotiations with mullahs, long enough for them to feel out of danger.

It's just like soccer game for those of you who are familiar with this fascinating game. Imagine your team is ahead by one goal and there's just 20 minutes left of the game. What would you do? Would you keep attacking, thus risking your advantage or would you maintain the ball's possession, trying to cool things down and even kill as much time as you can to limit your opponent's scoring chances until the game is finally over?

That's what mullahs are doing. They believe they have now passed the point of no return, "joined the club" so to speak. So, what they now need to do is avoid creating more tensions. By maneuvers such as these, they can keep the doors of political bargaining open for ever, thus creating deep frictions not only between the major world powers, but in the US as well. Just consider how, by every single move on their part (such as that meaningless letter) more US politicians, even within the GOP, have joined the ranks of those who are calling for direct talks with Iran.

Will the US continue to let Iran maintain its finger on the pulse of the game until the game is over?