The process suits Iran fine. It gives “hostile powers” something to chew on while Iran does what it wants. It also enables US and European leaders to tell their respective publics that they are “doing something” about the threat that Iran poses. And it helps Russia and China to claim that, because diplomacy is working, there is no need for tougher action. The blame-America-first chorus also uses the process to bash “neocons” who argue that the mullahs won’t stop unless someone else stops them.
But this year things are different. Tehran has declared at the outset that the nuclear issue — the only one that interests the 5+1 group (America, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China) — shouldn’t even be on the agenda.
“The Islamic Republic has already become a member of the nuclear club,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared last week, as he unveiled the first nuclear-fuel rod manufactured in Iran. “Our nuclear program is not a subject for negotiations.”