The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
In an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Times, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, citing Obama administration officials, write that Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election so that they know which American president they would be dealing with.
October surprise? Well, via Wizbang we learn that White House is denying the report. And, really, while some are questioning the timing, agreeing to negotiations is only important inside the DC beltline. It’s like when the North Koreans and NATO agreed on the shape of the negotiation table during the Korean War. Big woop. When actual negotiations have taken place, that’s a big deal. Iran has blown off the negotiations and other negotiation terms from multiple efforts. This won’t move the needle at all.
It will be interesting to see if Obama brings this up Monday night during the debate.
Now, over to Egypt
(Foreign Policy) A poll of Egyptians conducted last month shows that they have increasingly positive views of Iran, believe that both Iran and Egypt should obtain nuclear weapons, and still trust their own military more than any other institution in Egypt.
The poll of 812 Egyptians, half of them women, was conducted in a series of in-person interviews by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and sponsored by the Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization with offices in Washington and Jerusalem. According to the poll, Iran is viewed favorably in Egypt, with 65 percent of those surveyed expressing support of the decision to renew Egypt-Iran relations and 61 percent expressing support of the Iranian nuclear project, versus 41 percent in August 2009.
Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt,” though 68 percent held unfavorable views of Shiite Muslims.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb.
Who would have seen this coming? First President Leading From The Golf Course decided that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was a friend of the United States, then introduced him to a big shiny bus. At the time, it was increasingly clear that Islamic extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were involved with the protests in Egypt, which were held by a small number of Egyptian citizens. Then, these same Islamic extremist groups (Islamists) were able to get themselves elected to the new government.
And now the Egyptians (per the poll) think Iran is super awesome and want their own nuclear weapon. This is what happens when one leads from behind, ie, gets involved then fails to stay engaged afterwards. Much like with Libya.