By Oliver Guitta, Middle East Times.
This coming week, for an umpteenth time the P-5 plus one – the U.N. permanent five members plus Germany - will meet to talk about Iran and try to adopt a common position. It will be the first time the U.S. Barack Obama administration will take part in the discussions. With an affirmed will of breaking from the precedent administration, the Obama team has a lot at stake. At this point, with Iran inching so much closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon, the next few weeks might be the last chance for a diplomatic solution.
Obama's opening to the Tehran regime has been received quite coldly. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replied by demanding apologies for the crimes the United States has allegedly committed. He also asked for the U.S. withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan. But that is not all, when it comes to the core issue of Iran's military nuclear program, Aliakbar Javanfekr, a senior aide to Ahmadinejad, stated that Iran had no intention of stopping it.
That sounds pretty definitive. A non-starter, really. Interestingly, the White House muscled up its tone when it warned Iran that military action is still one of the options on the table. But at the same time the very dovish German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier reiterated his view that only diplomacy should be used, therefore removing a large stick from the negotiating table. Indeed, if Iran thinks there will be no major repercussions for defying the international community, then what incentive has Iran to stop? -- more
[Please, make them stop! ;)]