Headlines and denials are flying as the New York Times printed a report that negotiations with Iran are near, but by mutual consent, scheduled for after the November U.S. presidential election. On Saturday, the Times precipitated some hope for resolution of the international issues by writing that the United States and Iran had “agreed in principle” to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. They quoted as their source the Obama administration. They called the agreement to talk a “last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.”
While the Times conceded that the approval of the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei was a necessary and as yet unaccomplished factor, the Times went into considerable detail as to the overall agreement. They quoted Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having made a relevant statement in September, “Experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the U.S. leading up to the national elections.” The times suggested too that the approval of Khamenei was linked to the fact that the ruling mullahs don’t wish to appear as if sitting down with a country they demonize as the Great Satan.
A new and unexpected development arose on Sunday, October 21. The Washington based Daily Caller and other publications printed that the White House had indeed denied reports claiming Iran had agreed to meet with U.S. officials in relation to the Iranian Nuclear program. The denial made clear that at issue was the rationale of postponing any negotiations till after the November elections. The Daily Caller cited the Times words that, “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.”
The BBC.UK reported the Iranian side of the denial. They said that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated, “We don’t have any discussions or negotiations with America.”
It would be difficult not to see the intrusion of politics into important world events at this juncture. We are reminded that the American delegation to the United Nations General Assembly walked out on an important speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on September 26. That walkout, which may reasonably have been described as politically motivated, was directly at odds with what many Democrats see as President Obama’s core foreign policy.
In an editorial posture the BBC referred to the third and final debate for the presidency planned to be on the subject of foreign policy. They describe Mr. Romney as accusing Obama of being “soft on Iran.” They write that Mr. Obama opposes a military strike by the U.S. or Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities but is determined to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb. A spokesman for the administration said the onus is on the Iranians to stop or face crippling sanctions and increased pressure.