By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
The deadline for decisions about Iran and nuclear talks is upon us. Obviously, no agreement has been reached.
An extension will be arranged.
Iran and the West have different sets of objectives. The West very much wants the agreement.
But Iran is not about to compromise on two basic issues.
Iran does not want to dismantle their 10,000 operational centrifuges and scale back the 9,000 more that are nearly operational. They want all 19,000.
And Iran wants a quick removal of sanctions - they will not even consider the option of a ten year, slow removal, process during which the international community checks and verifies that they continue to live by the agreement.
The United States has already shown flexibility on the numbers of centrifuges. But 19,000 is way too many. And the US will not immediately lift the sanctions.
Bottom line: neither party trusts the other.
But trust is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the United States has no "Plan B".
The United States has no backup plan other than to enlist the help of China and Russia. And while it is true that China and Russia are not in favor of a nuclear Iran, neither are they keen on going to the mat on this issue - especially because they would be doing the bidding of the United States.
This is a real problem.
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