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Little Hope for Breakthrough in Iran Talks

Despite the dramatic media reports, don’t get too excited about the next round of talks between Iran and six nations regarding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Those discussions are scheduled to start in Istanbul late this week. Anyone who calls this encounter “fateful” is likely overlooking the fact that meetings like this were held in the past.

The unlikeliness of a breakthrough can be surmised given the rigid declarations in Tehran and Washington. Also, as of Wednesday, the U.S. government intended to send only mid-level professional diplomats to Istanbul, further attesting to the low expectations. Were Barack Obama’s administration to believe the Istanbul discussions – which include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – would be fraught with potential to guarantee regional peace, it would send a top-caliber representative, perhaps even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself.

Last year’s talks halted when the Iranians refused to engage in an in-depth discussion about their nuclear program. Iran conditioned the discussion on international recognition of its right to enrich uranium and the lifting of sanctions. This time Iran appears to have relented on these preconditions.

Another change has to do with the timetable. That issue may not be as pressing as Israel’s government insists it is, but the international community, including Russia and China (which display the most indulgence toward Iran ), does realize that Tehran is still working toward obtaining nuclear weapons capability.

No less important is the change in America’s approach to the issue. Around November, when Israeli officials began voicing concrete threats to attack Iranian nuclear installations, officials in Washington apparently had their eureka moment and grasped the seriousness of the issue.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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