Obama and Khamenei Must Compromise

De-escalation of Iranian nuclear activities must be accompanied with a de-escalation of sanctions

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Obama and Khamenei Must Compromise
by Trita Parsi
09-Apr-2012
 

If President Barack Obama and Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei do not compromise at the upcoming nuclear talks next Saturday, the region will -- in the words of a diplomat involved in the matter -- head towards "total war." For the sake of world peace, both sides must compromise.

Yet, there are some indications that the next round of talks may differ little from previous failed discussions. Driven by limited political maneuverability at home, domestic pressure not to compromise, and a perception of strength that lures the parties to believe they can force on the other a fait accompli, the talks have often been about imposing terms of capitulation on the other.

It has never succeeded.

The White House is going into the talks with extensive demands. Iran must cease production of 20% enriched uranium, cease all activities at the underground Fordo facility and give up its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium.

From a non-proliferation perspective, these are reasonable demands. Iran has said that it would only enrich as much 20% uranium that it needs to produce fuel pads for its Tehran Research Reactor. If the West would provide Iran with the fuel pads, the White House reasons, Iran would have no reason to continue enriching at this level nor would it need its stockpile. And since Iran planned to use Fordo for enrichment at this level, demanding that those plans be set aside also seem reasonable.

If Iran would agree to this, the US's current conviction that Iran cannot dash for a bomb without getting caught would persist. Iran would need about a year to build a bomb, but would get caught within 30-60 days if it tried to build one, thanks to the current level of inspections. Iran's activities at Fordo and its growing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%, however, reduces Iran's dash-out time and it could make it more difficult for the inspectors to catch any Iranian foul play. This is why the White House's focus is on Fordo and Iran's enrichment at 20%, and why Khamenei should agree to compromise.

What remains unclear, however, is what Obama is willing to put on the table. Thus far, White House officials have only indicated that Iran would be given fuel pads to produce medical isotopes and a promise not to impose new UN sanctions on Tehran.

This package is a non-starter to most observers - including to other P5+1 diplomats. The problem is not necessarily the demands, but the imbalance between what is demanded and what is offered.

A senior US official told me in an interview for my book A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012), that the US tried very hard to turn the October 2009 talks into a win-win. "Not because we wanted to do Iran a favor," he said, "but because there was no other way to get a deal."

There still isn't another way to get a deal.

By June, European oil sanctions will kick in. And the US is intensifying its campaign to strong-arm other states to cut oil imports from Iran. It appears highly unlikely that Iran would agree to give considerable concessions in return for a halt to new UN sanctions while other more biting sanctions continue to be added.

It seems unavoidable that any de-escalation of Iranian nuclear activities must be accompanied with a de-escalation of sanctions in order for a deal to be struck.

Obama's challenge is that there is almost no political space for lifting some of the existing US sanctions. Since Congress has imposed most US sanctions, Congress must also approve any changes to them. Last time Obama took a fight with Congress over Iran sanctions, he lost the Senate vote with 100-0. He is not going to pick another fight over this issue with Congress in a middle of his re-election bid.

Greater flexibility may exist in the EU and Asia. But as time passes, the less valuable the promise of lifting sanctions will become. For instance, the offer of Asian powers to reverse their cuts in Iranian oil imports only carries credibility for a few more months. Once the Asian refineries pay the cost of shifting away from Iranian oil, they are unlikely to double that cost by shifting back to Iranian oil. At that point, in the words of an Asian diplomat, the Asian powers "will lose their leverage."

Herein lies the contradiction of coercive diplomacy (the dual-track approach) combined with phased negotiations. Coercive diplomacy dictates that pressure must be put on the other side for it to compromise. The incentive offered to the targeted state to concede is an easing of the pressure once it ceases its objectionable policies.

In a phased approach, in which the deal is separated into several different steps, a contradiction emerges if the pressured state actually complies. On the one hand, a change of behavior should be rewarded with a reduction of pressure. On the other hand, additional pressure is deemed necessary in order to coerce the sanctioned state to continue to compromise for the ensuing steps in the phased approach.

This contradiction risks collapsing the talks because the sanctioned state will likely only accept that its concessions are met with additional pressure if it so weak that it has no choice but to accept capitulation.

There is a risk that Obama's silence on the incentives side is motivated by the logic of the phased approach, that is, demands will be made throughout the talks but real incentives will only be offered in the final phase. But there is also a chance that the silence is a calculated move. While demands can be leaked to the US media, incentives will only be presented at the negotiating table once a diplomatic process has been put in place.

So far, both sides have shown a greater willingness to take a risk for escalation than a risk for peacemaking. Both sides believe that only the other party is guilty of this lack of courage. For war to be avoided, both sides need to look themselves in the mirror.

First published in HuffingtonPost.com.

AUTHOR
Trita Parsi is president of National Iranian American Council and author of the newly released book A Single Roll of the Dice – Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012).

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iraj khan

It's Getting Better

by iraj khan on

Iran, West show signs of thawing

With tough posturing gone for now, the new round of nuclear talks brings promise of a compromise deal

"Given the overall scheme of regional and global developments, and the inevitability of an Israeli strike in the absence of a deal in Baghdad, there are grounds for cautious optimism that a tactical and/or temporary compromise could be arrived at in the next meeting, especially if discussions are framed in the context of "commitments against rights" whereby Iran would be allowed to keep some enrichment activity in return for absolute transparency and unconditional fulfilment of its nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) obligations.'

http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/iran-west-show-signs-of-thawing-1.1010394

PEACE is the way


Dr. Mohandes

and the Title goes to!!

by Dr. Mohandes on

The title of the strongest woman in iran Goes to our own one and only fanoos khanoom... Gheelieieiieieieieiie. Bia shamaro foot kon...nanay nay nay...

faramarz jan

I am glad to see that you have taken note of this case and has struck a cord, a deep one with you:) Something tells me you are going go up against Alizade or mamadzade or rezazadeh in becoming the strongest iranian man alive...ehem...in the same context as fanoos banoo!

 


Faramarz

I Agree Doctor Mohandes

by Faramarz on

Fanoos is a classy and sophisticated woman and I would like to nominate her as the Elizabeth Taylor of Iran for believing in the institution of marriage so much that she tried it four times!

Way to go girl!


Dr. Mohandes

fanoos

by Dr. Mohandes on

Ya mashallah.

Khaste nabashi palevoon:)

I admire women of class and sophistication that would honorably live with different men with grace and dignity througout their lives... may your last husband, #4, rest in piece.

Guys ... I don't think it is cool messing around with those name...i mean come on now...let's have some respect just for the sake of having respect...not that i am a die-hard, hard core Moslem or anything...

To the life of abooli eet eez not cool joone taa! this body dies is not cool.

Please send a loud and clear salavat...


iraj khan

Crude Drops for Second Day in New York After Iran Talks

by iraj khan on

"Brent crude fell, extending last week’s drop, after the first international talks in 15 months on Iran’s nuclear program yielded an agreement for the parties to reconvene in May.

Brent futures slipped as much as 1.5 percent in London. The United Nations’ five permanent Security Council members plus Germany will meet Iranian delegates in Baghdad on May 23 after “constructive” talks in Istanbul on April 14, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said yesterday. The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, pared losses after U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast.

“It’s definitely a step forward that the parties are at least talking again,” said Thorbjorn Bak Jensen, an analyst at Global Risk Management in Middelfart, Denmark. “There is a significant risk premium in prices related to Iran, and even small steps towards a solution can have large impacts.”

Brent oil for June settlement dropped as much as $1.80 to $119.41 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange and was at $120.07 at 1:46 p.m. local time. Futures fell in four of the past five weeks."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-16/crude-drops-for-second-day-in-new-york-after-iran-nuclear-talks.html

PEACE is the way,

Iraj

 


Faramarz

My Two Dogs' Names!

by Faramarz on

 

 

I used to have two dogs.

One was always sick and I called him Zein-al-Aabedin!

The other one was shy and used to hide in dark places and I called him Mahdi! 


mousa67

well mrs fanoos: thank you for your kind words.

by mousa67 on

i truely love iran and iranians and have many good iranian friends and believe it or not have visited tehran on few occasions. i even love mr iraj khan. i feel his anger and pain and wish him quick recovery and many more islamist rials to find  their way to him. insha allah.


iraj khan

Iran stocks, rial gain after nuclear talks

by iraj khan on

"Iran's currency and stock market have experienced a small but much needed boost after nuclear talks between Iran and major world powers on Saturday that both sides described as positive and constructive.

The progress of the talks, although slight, helped the rial to climb, trading at 16,500 to the dollar on the open market on Monday, from nearly 19,000 two weeks ago,.. Tehran's stock market also saw gains on Sunday and Monday, Fars news agency reported. It said the morning after the talks the Tehran index rose to a record high of 27,241 points after the largest daily rise in seven months." http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/39403/Business/Economy/Iran-stocks,-rial-gain-after-nuclear-talks-.aspx

PEACE is the way

fanoos

Mr. Mousa, my apologies! I have two cats named

by fanoos on

mammad and ali. My 4th husband (khoda beyamozersh) was Jewish and from Kerman! I have two sons from him, Moshe and Jacob! Shalom and may lord Moses protect you and your dogs hasan and hosein.


mousa67

mr fanoos: the only "khan" here is iraj khan.

by mousa67 on

"khans" can only be found in pre feudal islamist societies like iran. we zionists did away with our khans soon after the industrial revolution about 200 years ago. hasan and hosein are very cute chiwawa puppies. not aggressive and not into biting or burning flags or calling people names such as jewish pigs on internet or beating their chests into frenzy in the holy month of mohoram. also they maintain a healthy diet during the holy month of ramadamadamdam as they are working dogs and not used to resting all day and piging themselves at iftar time..

mr ahmadinejad's agent: thank you. you are the brightest one of them all :)

mr iraj khan: i feel your pain. we have 300 and you have none. but keep swiveling. :)


fanoos

Calling your....!

by fanoos on

dogs, Hasan and Hosein! Now, that's funny Mosau Khan! Are your dogs identical twins and do they bite?


مآمور

well said Mr Mousa

by مآمور on

 it is your undeniable right.

well said my dear friend! it our undeniable right to develop nuclear technology as well as not recognizing israel as a legitimate state!!

undeniable, indeed

 

I wear an Omega watch


iraj khan

You

by iraj khan on

mousa, do represent the Chosen People's attitude towards Iran and Iranians.

Referring to your dogs as 'hassan and hosein', two of the most revered Shia Imams. Racism is engraved deeply into your kind as another jew reveals so beautifully in this article:

By Gideon Levy:

"Last week I joined the pilgrims to Hebron on Passover eve. In the bus, one of them, using a derogatory term for Arabs, said loudly: "All the Arabushim should be sent to the stone crushers straight from the hospital, as soon as they're born." The whole bus roared with laughter."

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-lack-of-vision-is-making-israel-a-short-term-state-1.424277

This is why Zionism is condemned by the United Nations as a racist ideology and this is why Zionists like you are compared with Nazis.


mousa67

mr iraj khan: i am surprised with you long angry attack on me.

by mousa67 on

i checked with the site rules and found no mention of "jews or zionists or chiwawa puppy owners are not allowed into this site" clause.

so as they say in my neighborhood:  swivel on it. it is your undeniable right.

LOL and PEACE.


مآمور

dear Siavash

by مآمور on

First, I m sorry if I hurt your feeling.

I was going to make joke about this! but then I read your post twice and found, u r saying it with so much believe and passion!!!

regardless of our political views, we, people of the world, are human beings and equal(or should be) in every aspect. 

there r arabs who dont like Iran! they like iranian opposition! and arabs who do like iran and dont like the other side!! it cant be more black and white than this!!

telling of my own personal experiences, both cuisines, arabs and jews, look at us with respect, and they deserve respect back.

every thing else is pure politic!!

I wear an Omega watch


Siavash300

Mr. Maemor, may I ask humbly never play arabs on this site

by Siavash300 on

I don't know your nationality sir, but we are Iranians and this is Iranian site. Please don't post any arabic link and those retarded lizard arabs terrorists here. We don't like them and similarly they don't like us. So please instal this terrorist link on arab.com,not here.

Thanks,

Siavash


alimostofi

Hezbollah Regime disagrees

by alimostofi on

Hezbollah Regime disagrees with them.

http://bit.ly/IpqoZO

See what I mean. They just want to use Iran to build their bloody nukes with our oil. And the Chinese will deliver a new fleet of tankers to siphon it all for free.

These guys are a million times worse than anything the Shah or even Mozzafaradin Shah did.

@alimostofi
FB: astrologer.alimostofi


iraj khan

To

by iraj khan on

mousa, the new (or new user ID) Zionist defender of the criminal regime of Israel:

In regard to your recent comments about Iran and Iranians,

you wrote: "need to take hasan and hosein (naming your dogs after two revered Shia imams) for walkies now"

1. There was a agreement between Iran and 5+1 yesterday, so please go somewhere else and lick your wounds.

2. This is not Israeli.com, it's Iranian.com and we are not occupied Palestinians living under the rule of the racist/rapist regime of Tel Aviv.

3. Stop disrespecting Iranian religious belief by giving their names to your dogs (hassan and hosein).

4. You sound like another one of those racist criminal minded settler crowd who is pushing the world towards war and destruction.

5. This is what another jew wrote about likes of you when he made a trip to Hebron in the Palestinian occupied land:

By Gideon Levy:

"Last week I joined the pilgrims to Hebron on Passover eve. In the bus, one of them, using a derogatory term for Arabs, said loudly: "All the Arabushim should be sent to the stone crushers straight from the hospital, as soon as they're born." The whole bus roared with laughter."

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/a-lack-of-vision-is-making-israel-a-short-term-state-1.424277

This is why Zionism is condemned by the United Nations as a racist ideology and this is why Zionism is compared with Nazim.

I'm just saying,

Iraj


mousa67

mr ahmadinejads agent: you sound even cuter and funnier

by mousa67 on

when you get  so feisty :) or as I just quoted my uncle shmuel (god bless his soul)  to your equaly feisty  friend mr republican:

"we invented  both nuclear bombs and internet. but we allow the islamists only the usage of internet to vent out their anger and frustration" and united states 5th fleet is there to ensure our rules.

well i had enough fun for one sunday. need to take hasan and hosein for walkies now. 


مآمور

Yes, u did understand

by مآمور on

U as an army reservist cant possibly not understand this

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_rpAvhv3qo&f

My dear friend, what part of my response sounded angry to u?? I m in lol mood this Sunday morning!! I will fix it!!

The day the current racist government is changed-not by the means of force but rather by justice for all man kind- the racist ideology of Zionism is deleted of the pages of history!! in that day, u can come and visit the shrine of little working girl whose uncle was her agent(not me) and lover at the same time!! wowww, u guys know no boundary when it comes to love!!

I wear an Omega watch


mousa67

mr ahmadinejads agent: i did not understand your angry response

by mousa67 on

so i read it out loud to my chiwawa puppies hassan and hosein who can understand arabic & yidish and a bit of farsi. they listened with care and then all of a sudden fell on their backs and went LOL LOL LOL LOL.


iraj khan

..

by iraj khan on

duplicate.


مآمور

My dear firend mousa, ours was 33 days

by مآمور on

please ask your family and firends-right here Shazdeh is available- to pray couple of extra at the dinner table or by the shaker wall for your cute face!!

talking about shaking, they really shacked u, didnt they? amazing 33 days!! the shakers themselves say, they had previously shaken the cute guy in 2000!! so they say , by now they got used to this shaking business!!!

Sir, it is a great loss to our forum here at IC that u dont speak Farsi, the language of Iran, but dont worry! I speak the language of your country, Arabic.

Good job on creating New Hebrew by using Arabic structure

I wear an Omega watch


LoverOfLiberty

VPK

by LoverOfLiberty on

As I suspected from previous encounters with Iranian-Americans, particularly witnessed during my years of schooling, you all seem to make a person feel exceedingly welcome.  :)  Thank you.

Regarding quotations, I am an engineer.  I am not an author of American foreign policy.  Alas, I wouldn't want to tant such an important topic with my somewhat ignorant ramblings.   :)


iraj khan

Peace Takes Time

by iraj khan on

Iran Agrees to Second Round of Nuclear Talks on May 23 

As was reported today:

"The European Union's foreign policy chief Ms. Ashton acknowledged that the discussions didn't present Iran with any specific demands as far as dismantling its nuclear program. But the foreign policy chief, who led the P5+1 bloc into the talks, stressed that the talks were "constructive" and appeared to indicate that Iran was serious about negotiations.

"We are looking for the next meeting to move ahead in a very concrete way," Ms. Ashton said in a news conference after the talks.

"This is a process that in order to be successful, will have to be sustained," she said."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577344021265727702.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Score Board for this round is as follow: 

Peace Camp 1, Naysayers 0


Shazde Asdola Mirza

از تریتا پرسیدند؛ "شاهدت کیه؟" ... گفت:

Shazde Asdola Mirza


... مأمور!


alimostofi

I: False Hopes

by alimostofi on

You must be quite young IJ. Us veterans have seen this song and dance or romance for many years. You need to understand this. The diplomats in Hezbollah Regime are the Mr Hyde. Mr Jekyll is the IRGC who will ultimately decide.

Let us say the HR Foreign Ministry entourage goes back with an amazing agreement. It will be shot down after a few months. That few months will then be followed by another few months of talks about talks. The Nuclear scenario will be Unclear.

But the whole point is that in that time oil would have gone up and more weapons are sold to all parties concerned. There will never ever be war.

It would all be over very quickly if war started. There is a precise precedent in times of war. Confusion and false fear is more important.

@alimostofi
FB: astrologer.alimostofi


iraj khan

So Far

by iraj khan on

So Good!

As was reported today:

"Not only are the atmospherics and the atmosphere completely different from what they were previously but more importantly he (Jalili) is not coming with the same preconditions and what we would consider obstacles that we saw previously," the diplomat said.

He said Jalili's tone in his opening statement was "calm and constructive,"

The diplomat suggested the Iranian side had signaled a readiness to enter" a serious engagement on the dispute over its nuclear program and that this could pave the way for a second meeting"

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0414/Iran-nuclear-talks-atmosphere-completely-different


mousa67

mr ahmadinejad's agent: i looked in the mirror.

by mousa67 on

and saw a handsome face belonging to a nation  who wraps up wars by pulping the big mouth little action enemy into submissions in 6 day instead of acting brave  on internet24/7 even in the holy month of ramadamadamdam.

i dont know who your complement was addressed to. but I decided to respond since i love you so much.


مآمور

looking for traitors??

by مآمور on

take a look on the mirrors!!

I wear an Omega watch