I don’t have a lot of time today because I’m working on something, but I did want to take note of the latest “non-leak leak maybe who knows” regarding supposed direct negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program.

The NY Times reports:

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

The White House denies the story, and The Times “quietly edited” the story to pull back from the original report that talks were agreed upon, now using the term “in principle.”

This is all back to the future, and a result of Obama’s pre-presidential pledge to hold negotiations without preconditions, principally the precondition that Iran halt enrichment while negotiations are ongoing.  Without such a precondition, the negotiations simply are a stalling mechanism while Iran advances.

This was the case back in 2009, when Iran dangled the prospect of negotiations as a mechanism of deflecting criticism of its suppression of the Green Revolution and international sanctions.  Obama fell for it, or more accurately, encouraged it, and the negotiations went nowhere fast:

This will be an issue at the debate tomorrow night.  Hopefully Romney is prepared with a bit of history.


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