Iranian officials: Obama offered big concessions in secret talks with Iran in 2011-12

Peace in our time.

Obama MunichThere has been a persistent thread of reporting in Western media about secret contacts between the Obama administration and the Iranian regime, going back for years before the formal P5+1 negotiations that opened in 2013.

But there hasn’t been much explicit information on the content discussed in the secret meetings.  If the statements made in passages translated by MEMRI are valid – excerpts from speeches and Iranian media interviews with top officials – the reason for that is obvious.  According to the Iranians quoted, the Obama administration planned from the outset to give away the major bargaining points.

MEMRI says a full translation has yet to be completed, so we must wait on that for a more extended discussion.  But here are some highlights Continue reading “Iranian officials: Obama offered big concessions in secret talks with Iran in 2011-12”

Nuke talks: Why Iran doesn’t need or want an actual deal

Peace in our time.

Obama MunichThere have been some excellent editorial pieces written in the past week on the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.  As is to be expected, given that the “deal” gets worse by the day, they are uniformly pessimistic; see Melanie Phillips, for example (apologies for the paywall), along with Charles Krauthammer and Joseph Klein.

Informative articles raise troubling questions about any potential “deal,” like “The Secret Side of the Iran Nuclear Deal” (Eli Lake and Josh Rogin).  Clauses in the “deal” that will never be made public are not a reassuring feature.

That’s especially the case when Obama and Kerry are claiming that they are ready to walk away from a bad deal, while at the same time the Obama administration is preparing to put intense political pressure on Democrats – calling up a Soros-funded dark money group, in fact, as an arm-twister – to back Obama’s play.  Administrations don’t usually anticipate having to put political guns to people’s heads for good deals. Continue reading “Nuke talks: Why Iran doesn’t need or want an actual deal”

History strikes back: Turkey, Iran inevitably jockey over Syria

Interesting times.

Erdogan and Rouhani meet in modern times.  (Image via Aydanlik Daily)
Erdogan and Rouhani meet in modern times. (Image via Aydanlik Daily)

The beginnings of a dynamic are emerging, one as predictable as anything ever was.  “Turkey” and “Iran” (in their earlier as well as contemporary incarnations) have jockeyed over the disposition of Syria (and Mesopotamia) for many centuries, and now that the clamps of the post-World War I order have been released, they are going to do so again.

Michael Ledeen initiated a fresh focus on this with a short post late last week, in which he predicted that Iran would soon form a federation with Syria and Iraq, or at least with the nominal central governments that remain to them: an arrangement that would formalize the Iranian military presence for which the mullahs have big plans.  Says Ledeen: Continue reading “History strikes back: Turkey, Iran inevitably jockey over Syria”

Iran: Conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan

Blowing (stuff) up.

Local officials are offering different explanations for the blast that rocked Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan) a few hours ago.  It will be some time before there is enough information to make a good assessment, but a few things can be said now.

First, although the probable location of the explosion hasn’t been clarified, comments from the provincial governor suggest that it was on the east side of the city.  The governor claimed that the blast resulted from a military training exercise at the air base co-located with the Esfahan International Airport, which is situated on the east side of the city.  Presumably his comments, whether true or not, were intended to offer an explanation consistent with the local inhabitants’ experience of the blast.

The Esfahan nuclear compound is located east of the metro area, but there are good reasons to doubt Continue reading “Iran: Conflicting reports on new blast near Esfahan”