NEWS, ANALYSIS & OPINION: Working with Iran

The case for talking to Tehran

Israel is in state of strategic paralysis. Its longstanding policy on Iran — depict Tehran as a global threat, pressure Washington to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and evade an American-Iranian dialogue — has been dealt a severe blow by the recently released National Intelligence Estimate.

The Iran policy Israel has pursued to date must now be put aside and a genuine effort must be made to develop a Plan B that recognizes the new strategic realities in the region. A broad diplomatic opening between Washington and Tehran is increasingly likely, and it is a distinct probability that an American-Iranian deal will entail some level of enrichment on Iranian soil. Arab states can be expected to step up efforts at rapprochement in order to avoid lagging behind the United States in warming up to Iran, making a policy of containing and isolating Tehran more and more difficult to pursue.

Israeli interests, therefore, would best be served by Jerusalem throwing its weight behind genuine diplomacy with Tehran in order to ensure that it is not left out of an American-Iranian deal. [complete article]

Russia, Iran tighten the energy noose

Foreign ministers are busy people – especially energetic, creative diplomats like Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and Iran’s Manouchehr Mottaki, representing capitals that by tradition place great store on international diplomacy.

Therefore, the very fact that Lavrov and Mottaki have met no less than four times in as many months suggests a great deal about the high importance attached by the two capitals to their mutual understanding at the bilateral and regional level.

Moscow and Tehran have worked hard in recent months to successfully put behind them their squabble over the construction schedule of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. The first consignment of nuclear fuel for Bushehr from Russia under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards finally arrived in Tehran on Monday. “We have agreed with our Iranian colleagues a timeframe for completing the plant and we will make an announcement at the end of December,” said Sergei Shmatko, president of Atomstroiexport, which is building Bushehr. [complete article]

U.S. releases Iranian detained in Kurdish city in 2004

The American military has released an Iranian detainee, officials from the U.S. and Iran said Wednesday, as the two countries prepared for a new round of talks on security in Iraq.

The Iranian Embassy identified the man as Haydar Alawi, who was detained in the northern Kurdish city of Sulaymaniya in July 2004. The U.S. military gave a different version of the name, Sayed Hadir Alawi Mohammed, but provided no other information.

The detention of Iranian nationals by U.S. forces in Iraq has been an ongoing issue in relations between the three countries. [complete article]

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