Iran Calls Bush's Bluff
Talks with Iran over its nuclear program end in resolving nothing even after the Bush administration sent a "senior diplomatic official" to attend (but not speak). I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that the mere presence of a Bushie at this diplomatic conference didn't force Iran to its knees begging for forgiveness for ever offending the mighty United States:
The presence of William J. Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, was one of the most important encounters between Iran and the United States since relations were severed nearly three decades ago. And it was part of a rare show of unity among the six negotiating partners -- the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China -- who pressed Iran to accept compromise.
But Iran responded with a written document that failed to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. And Iranian diplomats reiterated before the talks that they considered the issue nonnegotiable.
Specifically, the world powers wanted Iran to accept a formula known as "freeze-for-freeze" to break the deadlock. Under the formula, Iran would not add to its nuclear program, and the United States and other powers would not seek new international sanctions for six weeks to pave the way for formal negotiations. The proposal was originally offered to Iran last year and presented again to it last month as part of a new proposal to ultimately give Iran economic and political incentives if it stops producing enriched uranium.