Our own Grouchy Fogie, citing WND, first broke this story 2 days ago. Now the “grey lady” New York Times is catching up.
Citing WND as his source, Grouchy wrote that the Supreme Leader of Iran is waiting for a letter from Obama finalizing a deal for a TEMPORARY halt to its nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. removing its sanctions — sanctions that have produced the desired results on Iran’s economy. Instead of waiting for Iran to buckle under those sanctions-induced economic pressure and PERMANENTLY dismantle its nuclear weapons program, Obama allegedly settled for a TEMPORARY halt so that he can claim a major diplomatic victory to ensure his reelection.
Iran is an Islamic theocracy whose president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly has vowed to annihilate “the stinking corpse” of Israel. President George W. Bush has called Iran the “world’s primary state sponsor of terror.” Terrorist groups sponsored by Iran include the Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Mahdi army.
Yesterday, the New York Times‘ confirmed that secret negotiations between the Obama administration and Iran are taking place:
The United States and Iran have agreed in principle 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.
Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.
News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.
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, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.
It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.
[...] Reports of the agreement have circulated among a small group of diplomats involved with Iran.
This morning’s wake-up news on the alphabet networks is that the White House denies that a final agreement had been reached. “It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Saturday evening. He added, however, that the administration was open to such talks, and has “said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”
But Michael Ledeen of PJ Media points out that NYT report contains false assertions:
- Contrary to the NYT’s “The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program,” one-on-one negotiations have been going on for years, most recently, according to my friend “Reza Kahlili,” in Doha, where, he was told, Valerie Jarrett and other American officials recently traveled for the latest talks. The only news here is that the talks would no longer be secret.
- The notion that only diplomacy can avert “a military strike on Iran” is fanciful. There are at least two other ways: sanctions may compel the regime to stop its nuclear weapons program, or the Iranian people may find a way to overthrow the regime, thereby (perhaps, at least) rendering military action unnecessary.
- The claim that Iran has agreed to talks is questionable. As the Times admits further down in its story: “American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort.” If there is no approval from the supreme leader, there is no agreement at all.
Ledeen (his bio here) does confirm that at least one element of the Times story is true:
“the agreement, if there actually is one, is undoubtedly ‘a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term.’ Indeed, there were talks between Iranian officials and a representative of the Obama campaign, even before the inauguration. Secret talks between the two countries have been going on for decades, and I do not know of any American president from Jimmy Carter to the present who did not secretly pursue a deal with Tehran. (I participated in such talks in the mid-1980s during the Reagan administration.)
So what is happening? The most likely explanation is that Obama is still desperately seeking his grand bargain, the one that would validate his (and the Nobel Committee’s) claim to be a talented peace maker. That deal is not available, because the Iranians don’t want it. But he wants something to show for his efforts, so he settled for a big nothingburger: an agreement to talk some more.”