Top of the Agenda: Global Powers Agree to Iran Talks
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany agreed to resume talks with Iran over its nuclear program (NYT), EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday. Ashton's announcement came in response to an Iranian offer last month to restart nuclear negotiations, amid rising tensions between the West and Tehran. The United States and the EU, both of which contend Iran's nuclear program is intended for manufacturing weapons, have imposed strict economic sanctions on the country. The decision to press forward with diplomacy came as U.S. President Barack Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off from carrying out a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
"In the context of improving global growth, removing too much Iranian oil from the world's energy supply could cause an oil price rise that would halt the recovery even as it does some economic damage to Iran. For perhaps the first time, sanctions have the potential to be 'too successful,' hurting the sanctioners as much as the sanctioned," write Ian Bremmer and Clifford Kupchan for the Financial Times.
"The dispute with Israel is chiefly over timing and when, exactly, Iran will be deemed to have crossed the red line: is the crucial moment when Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear weapon or when it has actually done so? The danger is that this public negotiation unleashes a dynamic of its own," writes the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland.
"Every Israeli and friend of Israel should be thankful to the president for framing the Iran issue this way. It is important strategically for Israel, because it makes clear that dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat was not Israel's problem alone. And it is important politically, because this decision about whether to attack Iran is coinciding with the U.S. election," writes the New York Times' Thomas Friedman.