Lessons from Iran’s Latest Diplomatic Ploy

James Phillips /

Although it remains to be seen whether Iran’s latest diplomatic ploy, assisted by Turkey and Brazil, will actually lead to any lasting agreement on a nuclear fuel swap, Tehran’s recent behavior teaches several lessons, according to Patrick Clawson, a leading Iran expert based at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

First, Iran reacts to international pressure but not so much to inducements.  Iran’s resurrection of a mutated October deal that it previously had rejected undoubtedly was triggered by the imminent passage of a fourth U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution.

Secondly, Iran is prone to concoct some cosmetic diplomatic initiatives that come with multiple escape clauses so that Iran can reap the propaganda benefits of announcing agreements while keeping its options open to walk away from them as soon as they no longer serve its interests. (more…)