The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.
News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.
It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.
The report goes on to say that, should he win, it’s unclear whether Romney would go through with the talks. Romney’s rhetoric on the subject has been idiotic — basically, “Do as I say or it’s war!” It’ll be interesting to see what position Mitt will take in tomorrow’s foreign policy debate — the warmongering one he’s been pushing for months to please the chickenhawkteabaggers or the sane diplomatic solution that most likely polls a lot better with the general electorate.