Sounding suspiciously like a done deal, both leaders include two-point ‘declaration of principles’ in their UN speeches, coupled with launch of ‘result-oriented’ talks.
Take away the boasting and the bluster and what you have is this: U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have presented a nearly-identical two-point plan aimed at resolving the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program.
If you are a suspicious type, there is no way that you are going to ascribe this to coincidence. It is, in effect, a declaration of principles for any future accord on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The trade-off, which can be dubbed a “peace for rights” formula, is almost certainly the result of hitherto unknown backdoor coordination between the two countries. It includes US recognition of an inherent Iranian “right” to nuclear energy in exchange for Iranian willingness to “prove” that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes only.
Obama actually said as much in his speech: “These statements made by our respective governments should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement.”
He then went on to keep the American side of the bargain by declaring: “We should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people while giving the world confidence that the Iranian program is peaceful.”
Rouhani was even more explicit, speaking of “two inseparable parts of a political solution for the nuclear dossier of Iran.” The transcript of his speech actually highlights the two elements of the equation and presents them in bullet form.
The first part includes Rouhani’s declaration of Iran’s peaceful intentions but also his offer, in the name of “national interests”, to “remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.”
The second objective, he said, is “acceptance of and respect for the implementation of the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights.”
In order to achieve these two goals, Rouhani added that Iran “is prepared to engage immediately in time bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties will full transparency.”
On Thursday, of course, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif for a brief but nonetheless important meeting that may very well launch “time bound and result-oriented talks.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a plan to me. And if it is, then all the rest, as Rabbi Akiva would say, is commentary.
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