Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lavrov's Answer ... (And Clinton's Hope)

Over the past several weeks, I've asked whether there might be a change in the Russian position on Iran. Foreign Minister Lavrov gave a pretty clear answer: no. No support for new sanctions on Iran at this juncture. The Russians were unwilling to discuss with Secretary Clinton any specific new measures that might be used to pressure Iran--if the comments from "State Department sources" are accurate. Sure, down the line, if Iran doesn't change its behavior, maybe we'll talk again. But when the Geneva talks resume later this month, the United States doesn't have a credible threat to wield against Iran.

Also, in passing ... Secretary Clinton held out hope that Boeing will get a major Russia contract. I find it hard to believe that she "has hope" that Boeing will be
selected to provide planes for the new carrier Rosavia given that 51 percent
of the firm is owned by a Russian state company that includes the Russian
arms exporters and U.S. policy works against this companies sales (e.g. to
Iran) and that U.S. policy is working against Russian energy interests.
Unless she is compromising on other things that matter to Moscow ...

UPDATE: Press agencies are reporting that President Medvedev told Secretary Clinton that while he is pleased about the apparent success of the Geneva talks "he expects Iran to implement them and if they don't there should be sanctions," according to another "senior State Department official." It is being cited as proof of a breakthrough.

Again, I am not rushing to celebrate. "Should be" sanctions is not the same as "there will be". Define implementation of the Geneva agreements. As I said earlier, I don't see that the U.S. has gotten a firm commitment that strengthens its position when the talks resume.

Why are you people insist on involving Russia, or China, or EU and others?

Is it not more cost effective to deal with Iran/Cuba/North Korea within a bi-lateral framework?

Why cede power to others?
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