A detailed account of what transpired at the talks in Istanbul on Saturday between the ‘P5+1′ and Iran appeared in the Guardian newspaper. The Iranian media cited Guardian, lending credence to the contents of the report, which pointed toward some sort of understanding having been reached about steps to be taken by Iran in coming days. The Iranian reactions since the istanbul talks broadly bear out the Guardian report.
The Iranian statements continue to be positive. For domestic opinion, the outcome of the Istanbul talks is projected as a ‘victory’ for Iran. The influential chairman of the Majlis foreign policy and security commission Ala’eddin Broujerdi held out the prospect that Iran will seek a removal of the sanctions at the next round of talks in Baghdad. Foreign Minister Ali Salehi, however, harped on the need for Iran to be flexible and conciliatory.
All this goes to show that the leadership could be preparing the political backdrop at home for taking some steps on the ground. Meanwhile, of course, Iran will not be caught off guard in case Israel acts foolishly. The Defence Ministry’s warning is explicit even as reports appear on Israeli TV that IDF is preparing for a military strike.
Washington faces a similar predicament as Tehran’s in having to address multiple constituencies. The state department spokesman’s remarks Monday were nuanced — encouraging Iran to take steps on the ground and to move on with the talks, while at the same warding off hardline criticism from Republicans (and Israel) that the Barack Obama administration is being ‘soft’. The crunch time is coming insofar as the White House promised ‘reciprocal steps’ in the event of Iran taking certain steps — and Tehran, in turn, expecting these ‘reciprocal steps’ as the done thing. It all boils down to the sanctions.
Are the sanctions really ‘biting’? We’ll never know. Iran says oil exports are going on in full swing and Saudi Arabia cannot make up for the shortfalls on a sustained basis as Saudi production is at its peak.This is plausible. Again, the fact of the matter is EU’s sanctions against Iran also hurt the european economies, which are already in serious difficulty.
– April 17, 2012