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Iran: Reactions to Nuclear Extension

The article points out that various analysts, as well as participants in the negotiations now feel that the talks are too big to fail and that the consequences of walking away would be catastrophic. But walking away is exactly what the Iranians might do if the Obama administration gives into escalating Republican pressure for efforts that would truly force some of the basic concessions that Iran has thus far been unwilling to make.

This supports the conclusion that Roll Call reports as having been expressed by various scholars who participated in a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday. These individuals, including Gary Samore of the Harvard University Belfer Center and David Albright of the Institution for Science and International Security, expressed the view that the continued failure of negotiations is entirely the fault of Iran’s unwillingness to accept any proposals put forward by the West.

This intransigence is further underscored by the reactions that Iranian officials themselves have given to news of the extension. Hassan Rouhani declared it a “significant victory” for the Islamic Republic, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei similarly sought to give the impression that prolongation of the talks is an example of besting the United States. The supreme leader has repeatedly reiterated several red lines for the talks, which preclude his negotiators from agreeing to any limits on Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity.

But it seems that the Iranian regime’s reactions to the extension are not merely focused on its prospects for getting its way on the nuclear issue. Front Page Mag quotes Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Ali Jafari, whose comments reflect hardliners’ desire to use the nuclear issue as a topic through which to confront and antagonize the West while convincing the Iranian people of their government’s military strength.

“Americans have very clearly surrendered to Iran’s might,” Jafari said, “and this is obvious in their behavior in the region and in the negotiations, and the enemies’ reservations vis-a-vis Iran are completely felt.” The paramilitary commander went on to speculate about war between the United States and Iran, saying that if one were ever launched, “ur war will end by conquering Palestine.”


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