New Openings with Iran?

There is little doubt that the Iranian nuclear challenge represents the perhaps most difficult issue on the global agenda today.

So far, we are on a glidepath to confrontation, as I have been writing about before. Only the somewhat wider awareness of the danger this represents has slowed down the speed of that glide somewhat.

The EU foreign ministers discussed a renewed possible package to be offered to Iran, and in Friday a meeting in London – subsequently postponed to early next week – will discuss the possibilities of proceeding with different measures after the negative IAEA report to the UN Security Council.

There are increasing pressures for the United States to engage directly with Iran on the issue, but this is unlikely to happen, aat the least in direct form.

It is far more likely that things are moving in the direction now advocated by Henry Kissinger when he is trying to analyze the situation. In effect, he proposes extending the present EU3 formula for discussion with a formula similar to the one used in the six-party talks with North Korea.

That would de facto see the United States sitting down on the negotiating table with Iran – although in a broader framework.

Whether that will move the issue forward or not is another matter. It has so far not brought success with North Korea. And there are no signs – at the least as far as I’m aware – of either Teheran being prepared to give up on what it considers its right to enrich uranium or the US being prepared to accept some version of enrichment in Iran.

And that’s the core of the dispute at the moment.

But the fact that the focus at the present is on the possibility of different diplomatic moves – and even the possibility of talks with Iran involving the US – is important in itself.

The letter from President Ahmadinejad to President Bush should, in spite of its demagoguery, be interpreted in the same way. You don’t write letter to the Great Satan is you are not prepated to engage with him in some sort of way.

We’ll see what happens on Friday and thereafter.

In the meantime one can do far worse than reading Henry Kissingers view on the issue.

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