Lausanne (AFP) - Iran and the US aim in talks starting Sunday in Switzerland to begin closing in on a deal reducing Tehran's nuclear activities to within strict limits after 18 months of tortuous negotiations.It seems like the U.S./P5+1 - Iran negotiations have been going on forever.
While they were busy going over minor details and talking about how many centrifuges Iran is allowed to build, the map in the Middle East changed. ISIS took over parts of Syria and Iraq. Libya was also placed in their hands. The Houthis took Yemen. The Taliban made a comeback in Afghanistan. The Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt.
If they were serious about getting a deal done it would have already happened by now. The fact that they keep putting off a final deal and pushing it back is not a good sign.
We should still have hope that cooler heads on both sides will push the hardline crazies to the side and be more vocal about why a deal is a win-win. But don't expect that to happen.
From the outside, it looks like America doesn't want to give up its economic weapon of sanctions, and the Ayatollahs don't want to give up the rhetorical weapon of anti-Americanism.
Both sides need to put sanctions and anti-American rhetoric behind them, but they probably won't. They've become too used to it.
Greed and arrogance will overcome moderation. America and Iran are not humble nations. Plus, you have the arrogant Republicans and Israel waiting in the background, ready to throw chairs and flip tables over like mad monkeys.
So far, there has been more letter-writing than deal-making. Giving your opinion is easy, but listening to the other's opinion is hard. Any fool can throw a temper tantrum in the middle of negotiations, which is what the Republicans essentially did by writing that stupid letter. Sabotaging peace is easy. But making compromises, swallowing national pride, forgiving the demonized other after decades of hostility, and changing course are all hard things to do.
The only good news is that both sides have not stopped talking.