Fartashphoto's Blog

Iran’s Nuclear Talks doomed & More Cables are leaking about Iran

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 7, 2010

Talks between Iran and six world powers are going into a second day with no sign of progress on U.N. Security Council demands that Tehran curb its nuclear activities.

An official at the negotiations said the first meeting Monday gave little reason to presume that Iran would relent and address the demands. That would dash hopes of a renewed meeting in the new year.

Delegates from Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are meeting Tuesday at a conference center in Geneva.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is only designed to provide more power for its growing population. Yet as Iran builds up its capacity, neither Israel nor the U.S. are ruling out military action if Tehran fails to heed U.N. Security Council demands.

Coping with the Islamic Republic since it came into being with the 1979 Islamic revolution has been a top priority of Washington – but also one of its most challenging battles. Less than three months before the US Embassy in Tehran was overrun by militant students, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, diplomats posted their crafted a “how-to” guide to negotiating.

Some elements of the Iran analysis have in the past three decades been revised or changed in practice – if not in text, as so far, few other similar documents have been leaked. Yet the confidential cable notes the “special features” of negotiating with Iranians, and reads, “We believe the underlying cultural and psychological qualities that account for the nature of these difficulties are and will remain relatively constant.”

The cable posits that, “Perhaps the single dominant aspect of the Persian psyche is an overriding egoism” stemming from the “long Iranian history of instability and insecurity which put a premium on self-preservation.” The result, the cable says, is “an almost total Persian preoccupation with self and leaves little room for understanding points of view other than one’s own.”

More than a few Iranians might not recognize themselves in the two-page description. But among the “lessons,” the cable concludes: “Finally, one should be prepared for the threat of breakdown in negotiations at any given moment…. Given the Persian negotiator’s cultural and psychological limitations, he is going to resist the very concept of a rational (from the Western point of view) negotiating process.”

A British briefing for the US Dealing with such an “adversary” was also the purpose of British Ambassador to Tehran Geoffrey Adams, who, according to a 2007 WikiLeaks cable, traveled to Baghdad to brief Gen. David Petraeus and then-US Ambassador Ryan Crocker in advance of first-ever US talks with Iran’s ambassador to Iraq.

The Nov. 30, 2007, embassy cable reads: “In negotiations, [Ambassador Adams] advised being steady and firm, tough but not aggressive, and at the same time, seeking to engage and draw attention to mutual interests.” Iranians were “obsessed with the West and this obsession at times blinds them to their interests.”

John Limbert – who until August was the State Department’s top official on Iran – lays out 14 steps for success, but admits that a large measure of luck is also required of even the most carefully crafted policy.

“In reality, there will almost never be a eureka moment for the American negotiator,” Ambassador Limbert writes. He notes that “each side has constructed a mythology and an image of absolute evil in the other.”


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