It can be very frustrating when antagonistic parties seem to say they want talks, but then talk and act in ways that make dialogue difficult.
There are huge and very real issues at stake in the case of the Iranian nuclear processing program, such that political gaming must not be allowed to take over.
At stake are the lives and well-being of many people, and there is a need to keep the parties focused on this. The mutual posturings of political leaders must not be allowed to take over. The course of affairs in Iraq since it was accused (falsely) of having nuclear weapons is a stark reminder of how badly things can otherwise get out of hand for so, so many people.
The European Union top diplomat Catherine Ashton seems to understand this with respect to the US-Iranian stand-off. From what she says, there is some momentum for talks to be held with the Group of 5+1 possibly “in the next few weeks.” (Friday 01 October).
However, she has also underlined the need to be seen to be serious. She has said that “resuming negotiations with Iran is very important,” and “It’s important to do it in ways that make them feel that we are serious and willing to negotiate properly.”
Catherine Ashton’s may be a pointed statement, coming as it does just after the United States upped the ante by announcing new sanctions on eight Iranian politicians and officials.
According to the Voice of America, “The Obama administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions against eight Iranian officials who are said to be responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses. The list includes the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
Those targeted include the current interior minister, its former interior minister, top police and intelligence community officials, and the nation’s chief prosecutor. US officials said the sanctions were to prove their support for the opposition in the wake of last year’s presidential election. The sanctions include a travel ban and the seizure of their assets abroad.
Writing on the antiwar.com, commentator Jason Ditz pointedly adds that this framing moves beyond nuclear issue that has hitherto prevailed. The raising of human rights
represents a ‘surprising’ extension … sanctions have always been couched it terms of having something or other to do with the nation’s civilian nuclear program (or at least cowing the Iranian govenment into abandoning it), today’s sanctions were said to be about ‘human rights abuses.’
It is true that the Iranian leader President Ahmadinejad has a flamboyant style, and had made provocative statements in his address to the United Nations on 24 September leading to a walkout by the United States and its supporters.
However, it is more than time for some mature behaviour all round to prevail, and this Antipodean Blogger would like to think that the diplomats and politicians of his nuclear-free country is solutions-focused and as such is engaging in liaison to bring about a practical outcome, sooner rather than later. I presume they are not just waiting to act, or not, on the cues of just one party to this very serious, nuclear dispute.
Do you think that some – or all – of the politicians are playing it straight in this dispute? Do you agree or not that the stakes are very high – in ways they have been with Iraq? Any other comments?