Sunday, October 21, 2007

What Does It Mean That Larijani Resigned?

I've never seen the difference that Western commentators insist exists between Ahmadinejad and the supposed moderates in Iranian politics. I've never seen an issue that they disagree on. I read that there are political figures who claim Ahmadinejad has been ineffective, but never that Ahmadinejad should accept any particular offer or change any specific policy.

The New York Times, while retaining its position that there is a difference, at least spells out what the difference is not:

During his early days as nuclear negotiator, Mr. Larijani criticized Mr. Rowhani’s policies, which were aimed at building confidence over Iran’s nuclear program. It appeared that Mr. Larijani gradually moved closer to those policies and favored negotiations with the Europeans.

However, neither Mr. Ahmadinejad nor Mr. Larijani has suggested that Iran compromise over its enrichment activities.

Is there supposed to be a difference in tone, where Ahmadinejad sneers and says "we will not suspend enrichment" while Larijani or Rafsanjani smiles and says "we will not suspend enrichment"?

It seems that the West really does not want to wrap its collective brain around the how much of a consensus exists in Iran over the nuclear issue.

My take is that Larijani's resignation will have no impact Iran's policy regarding the nuclear issue. The precondition that Iran suspend enrichment before talks will prevent talks for as long as the US holds that position.

It is a pretty stupid policy. If that policy had not been in place, the US could have begun negotiations in June 2006 when Rice said she was willing given the condition and by now if there is a deal to be made, that deal would have been presented. The US easily could have gotten the same sanctions resolutions it has gotten and probably very slightly more.

No comments: