Two weeks ago, I wrote an analysis for ForeignPolicy.com, arguing that engagement should remain the policy with Iran, but that a tactical pause is necessary to make sure diplomacy succeeds. I argued that this wasn't necessary just because Washington would be wise not to engage with any faction in Iran before greater political clarity about the internal political situation in Iran can be found. Or because the outcome of the political fight in Iran can determine which Iran the world will deal with for decades to come.
Rather, the key argument was that the political chaos in Iran has made Tehran incapable of negotiating with the U.S. If the U.S. adheres to its pre-Iranian election crisis timeline, and seeks engagement with Iran prior to September, it risks dealing with an Iran that can't negotiate, can't decide and can't deliver.
Moreover, even nuclear talks would have a negligible impact on the election dispute. Iran currently is not in a position to negotiate. Some in Washington believe that the paralysis in Tehran has weakened Iran and made it more prone to compromise. But rather than delivering more, Iran's government currently couldn't deliver anything at all. The infighting has simply incapacitated Iranian decision makers.
Iran's lack of capacity creates a tremendous danger for the White House. Of all scenarios the Obama administrat... >>>
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