Here’s Your October Surprise, Iran Supposedly Willing To Negotiate On Nukes

The New York Times is reporting that the rumors were true, the Obama administration has been secretly negotiating with Iran.

The United States and Iran have agreed 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.

In an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Times, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, citing Obama administration officials, write that Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election so that they know which American president they would be dealing with.

News of the agreement comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest. It has the potential to help President Obama make a case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the effort 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. It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make a 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.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness toward Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.

Reports of the agreement have circulated among a small group of diplomats involved with Iran.

There is still a chance the initiative could fall through, even if Mr. Obama is re-elected. Iran has a long history of using the promise of diplomacy to ease international pressure on it. In this case, American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s opaque supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off. The American understandings have been reached with senior Iranian officials who report to him, an administration official said.

There’s many ways to read this news, but one thing is sure is that it will change things for Monday’s debate.

Update: The White House is denying the report.

Shortlink:

Posted by on October 20, 2012.
Filed under Barack Obama, Iran, War On Terror.
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • jim_m

    I’ll believe Mr Imadinnerjacket when he starts wearing a tie (which is to say, never).

  • Carl

    Not an October surprise. Just the current administration leaking info to the press which might help them in the election. Romney does this with Fox News daily – he just doesn’t have many other outlets that care about his bullshit.

    i don’t think it will help Obama in the debate. What will be interesting is what Romney says in reaction — does he say “bad idea to negotiate with Iran” or “I would not be willing to negotiate with Iran” — or does he say “Good idea, Mr/ President” or does he say “Waa waa waa, you leaked something to the press” or does he just lie like he usually does and hope nobody notices?

    • LiberalNightmare

      Maybe he’ll say “Are you stupid enough to believe them Mr President?”

      • Carl

        Indicating that he (Romney) would not negotiate with Iran.

        I hope he goes that route — I really do.

        • Digg34

          Because up to date,Obama has shown how wonderful he is at diplomatic relations and foreign policy. Who wouldn’t trust the fecal finger of Obama in negotiations with Iran?

          • Carl

            I think that Americans prefer to have a President like Obama who is willing to negotiate over someone like Romney who comes off as a blustering, saber-rattling ass who can’t be relied upon to tell the truth.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            LOL. Libya much?

          • Carl

            LOL Afghanistan and Iraq much?

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            That Obama, he’s a sneaky one…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_foreign_policy

            Good thing he’s more talk than action…

          • LiberalNightmare

            Say, aren’t we still in Afghanistan and Iraq?

          • jim_m

            Sorry, I’m not interested in having Neville Chamberlain obama appease us into 60 million dead.

          • Carl

            Yeah, and he’s a Muslim born in Kenya too!

          • jim_m

            Amazing how the left is determined to keep that smear alive. You’d think that they were trying to discredit obama at this point.

            For my part I have previously explained my belief that the only god obama believes in is himself.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            60 million dead? The U.S. Department of Fear commends you for that statement.

            https://twitter.com/FearDept

          • 914

            I would say the drones are witness’s against this stupid notion.

          • Digg34

            Big difference between “willing” to negotiate and the actual aptitude to accomplish it. So far Obama hasn’t shown that he could negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag. Romney has been negotiating his entire career with a much better success rate than Obama could dream.

          • LiberalNightmare

            If americans actually preferred a president like Obama, he would be polling better.

    • Vagabond661

      Obama will tell Awkmedeenajawed he will have “more flexibility after the election.”

    • retired.military

      Actually Trust but verify sounds good. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. Reagan and the dems opposing him on it.

      What do you say to that bet Carl?

  • Pingback: Guess Not: Obama Administration denies report of direct nuke talks with Iran | The Thinking Americanist

  • jim_m

    It seems that I am not alone in being reminded of Munich. The New York Sun has the same idea

    This is a moment for Mr. Romney to remember the lessons of Munich. It is
    not necessary to liken the mullahs to Hitler to keep in mind that the
    big mistake at Munich turned out to be not simply the deal that was made
    there, though that was mistake enough. The mistake was going to Munich
    in the first place. The mistake was in the delusion on the part of Prime
    Minister Chamberlain and Premier Daladier that there was no danger in
    simply talking with Hitler. In the end the talking was the appeasement.

    …The more traveled road to war is being too eager to appease.

    The difference between obama and Chamberlain is that once Chamberlain realized his error he gave Churchill his full support and was an implacable supporter of the war. I think obama would have refused to ever admit error and would have continued to appease the enemy even after his troops were marching through Trafalgar Square.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      I don’t believe Obama is capable of admitting error.

      He’s much like a cat in that – “The curtains and furniture were already shredded when you got the place, and that vase and lamp? Prebroken. From the factory. To save you time. But I didn’t have anything to do with this. Go away, I need to lick my butt.”

      Self confidence and a healthy ego is one thing. Obama’s far beyond safe limits on both – and it shows.

  • ackwired

    It’s interesting that the White House is denying the report. I wonder who the source is. Was the source trying to push the government into talks, has there been an agreement that the government is denying, or is the source just not credible? It will be interesting to see what develops.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Won’t it just?

      I kind of look on Iran’s disarmament the same way I look at the folks in the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement’.

      In other words – “You go first.”

      ;-)

      • ackwired

        Or maybe our government is saying that we know Iran’s economy is collapsing and we are waiting for it to bring the Iranian government down with it.

        • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

          Iran is being crushed by inflation. It is likely they will want to talk. Ahmedinejad’s term is up next year, it is unlikely the next president will be as much of an idiot.

          • Deborah Frey

            Make no mistake- the next leader will be just as obstinate. You are not dealing with the same objective in that country as you are here. They are trying to bully the world into Muslim compliance… and clearly it is working.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            “Muslim compliance?” To Muslims, we are trying to bully them into Globalist compliance. If you add up the economic effect of the “Washington consensus,” WTO rules, plus the UN/EU/US vision of human and gender rights, this means: free trade (with global corporate brands dominating through economies of scale and through the advantages of trading rules), free expression (including the pornographic), consumerism, cosmopolitanism, large agribusiness, secularism, and feminism. Small producers, the souk, religion, family solidarity, the family farm, traditional gender roles, and modesty in all ways be damned.

            The Muslims are really among the last real conservatives, along with the Amish, Orthodox Jews, and tribesmen living in jungles and deserts.

            Again, when was the last time a Muslim country invaded a non-Muslim country? 1683? On the other hand, they’re been getting invaded by Westerners since then. Just about the whole Muslim world was a Western colony only 70 years ago, and in case you didn’t notice, we recently invaded Iraq for no good reason.

            Over the long term, “we” are winning, “they” are losing.

          • jim_m

            when was the last time a Muslim country invaded a non-Muslim country? 1683?

            1967 – Israel. DUMB-ASS!!

            Or do the lives of JEWS simply do not count to an ignorant anti-Semite like you?

          • jim_m

            Oh, and Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1960.

            Seems like your favorite fascists are still invading other countries.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            Actually, it was in 1974 and the story is a lot more complicated than you think:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_invasion_of_Cyprus

          • jim_m

            Yeah, I don’t know why I typed “1960″ when I was reading 1974 myself.

            And I know full well the conflict between Greece and Turkey goes back thousands of years. That was not the issue. Turkey is a muslim majority nation and they invaded Cyprus. The point is that it disproves your bullshit assertion that muslims have been peaceful since they tried to conquer Europe in the 17th century.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            Ok, the Turkish part of northern Cyprus vs Iraq (more than once), Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Turkey itself after WWI, Morocco, Sudan, Yemen, Mali, Mauritania, etc, over the last 200 years.

          • Rdmurphy42

            Yeah, when it comes to defending murderous medieval savages, Chico will spare no effort.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            You truly are ignorant of history. No Arab soldier set foot in Israel in June 1967 unless they were prisoners.

            Calling that a Muslim invasion is like calling ALCS 2012 a Yankee victory.

          • jim_m

            So your argument is that because the arab nations attacked Israel but failed that this does not count as a muslim act of aggression against a non-muslim country?

            You’re an ass. You also deny the 1948 war for Israeli independence. Again you prove my point that you are an anti-Semite. Muslim acts of aggression, violence, or terrorism don’t count if targeted on Jews.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            Israel fired first, bombing the Arabs in a Pearl Harbor-style attack.

            The origins of that war are in the shadows, like the attack on the USS Liberty during the war.

            I guess if the Japanese had won WWII, they’d be teaching about how the Americans attacked Japan.

            This is probably the first time anyone told you the fact that the Israelis attacked first in June 67.

          • jim_m

            Syria had been denounced for supporting palestinian terrorists by the UN. A short period of hostilities occurred in 66 over Syrian activity in the DMZ. The UN intstituted a cease fire. The full conflict started with the Israeli airforce destroyiing the Egyptian airforce on the ground.

            You are going to blame the Israelis for a preemptive attack in a defensive war? You really are a bigot. How many Jews would have had to have been murdered before you thought it was OK for them to take up arms?

          • jim_m

            Oh— And how could we forget the Yom Kippur war in 73 where Egypt started hostilities by crossing the Suez with a coordinated attack from Syria in the Golan. Once again I suppose that it is OK because the muslims lost despite starting the war.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            Egypt attacking in the Sinai in 73 was like the USSR attacking in the Ukraine in 43 – they were trying to take land back, not conquer it.

          • jim_m

            Oh, That’s why they coordinated attacks with Syria and Iraq and Jordan? I am sure that the Golan was tactically important to taking back the Sinai.

            You’re so full of it.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            The Golan was a part of Syria before 67. Again your ignorance of the basic history is astounding.

          • jim_m

            Land taken in a defensive war is hardly ill-gotten.

          • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

            Yes, the 67 war and seizing the Golan had nothing to do with grabbing the water there. Riiiiiiight, and the Poles attacked Danzig first in 39.

          • Rdmurphy42

            Oh please. Stop. Now you are co,paring the attacking Arabic countries to Poland being attacked by the USSR? Get a house with a view of reality, will you?

          • Rdmurphy42

            To Chico, land taken by Israel is inherently ill-gotten. In his eye, if Israel did it the assumption is that they are wrong – after he establishes that he’ll search for a reason for them to be wrong.

          • Rdmurphy42

            You just automatically hate anything to do with Israel don’t you? It’s so bad it’s almost a caricature how much you spin to desperately support your Israel hatred.

          • Rdmurphy42

            Greece, East Timor, Cyprus, Sudan, Macedonia, north Nigeria vs south …

            Quite flatly, Chico, you are full of it on this point.

          • herddog505

            I agree. Iran has hardly been a nice, playful, peaceable country in the past thirty-three years; Ahamahdinnahjacket is merely an especially mouthy example of the type of leader they’ve had since the ayatollahs took over.

          • jim_m

            The dems just like him because he was involved in the embassy hostage situation in the 1970′s. As a terrorist Ahmadinejad can do no wrong in the eyes of the left.

          • Rdmurphy42

            The next president will be exactly as obstinate as the person really in charge of Iran wants him to be. And that is not its president.

          • herddog505

            Very true.

        • jim_m

          More likely obama is looking to see how he can save their economy and with it their current government. obama never met a dictator he did kiss ass to.

          • ackwired

            So that’s what those crippling sanctions are all about. I never would have guessed.

          • jim_m

            I sincerely doubt that obama wants to crush their economy. He has backed off everything else in an effort to appease the muslim extreme.

  • donwalk

    Nothing but B.S.
    N.Y. Times is trying to make B.O. look good, but this paragraph gives them both a safety valve:
    “In an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Times, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler, citing Obama administration officials, write that Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election so that they know which American president they would be dealing with.”
    Nothing is being negotiated and you can expect B.O. to come out and say “We were trying but Iran wouldn’t negotiate until after the elections. Therefore you must give me another term.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/denis.keohane.3 Denis Keohane

    When the issue of potential bi-lateral post-election talks with Iran comes up, Mitt should tie it do the ‘open mike incident’ of Obama sending a message to Putin through Medvedev that he will be more flexible after he no longer needs to care about the electorate.

    • Carl

      Reality check. It’s too late. Ahmadinejad has already declared the same concern Obama declared in the “open mic incident”. Obama knows that Ahmadinejad, Putin and any other leader is not going to negotiate seriously before our election. What’s the point in Ahmadinejad conceding a single point to Obama if Romney will be President next January.

      It’s just negotiation smarts, something conservatives always seem to struggle over… that whole “U.N”, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger diplomacy thing. GW Bush’s ineptness exposed the fallacies of saber rattling in the nuclear age with the way he allowed North Korea to commit nuclear blackmail, but that lesson hasn’t been fully learned by the slower students.

      There’s no question that there will be talks with Iran. The sanctions are having a devastating effect on the Iranian economy, and will eventually be triggered to collapse if and when they cross the final “line” and go too far. The world is united around this. Iran will not obtain nuclear weapon capabilities. Period.

      Romney’s politicization of Foreign Policy by dragging it through the mud in conservative blogs demonstrates his failure to understand the nuances of governing internationally. Romney would have been a good domestic VP to someone who is more presidential. Too bad that a “presidential” candidate failed to emerge from the Republican primary process. Remember — Michelle Bachmann lead in the GOP polls for a while, so did Rick Santorum and (gasp) even Herman Cain was the darling of the right for 9 days, 4 hours and 2 minutes or so. No wonder Romney emerged on top – he was standing up against an extremely weak field.

      Shorter? Donald Trump lead the GOP band for a while. That’s how bad the field was. Romney is the best of the litter, and he’s a foreign policy runt. Live with it.

      • retired.military

        “What’s the point in Ahmadinejad conceding a single point to Obama if Romney will be President next January.”

        a. He can promise Obama anything and if Romney gets elected than he can say his deal was with Obama.

        b. He would want Obama to get reelected as Obama has proven that he will not go as far as Romney in protecting US interests.

        c. He wants to buy more time and do nothing as he knows that Obama wont verify crap.

        And since you are so down on the GOP field how about that Bet? I have only asked you like 10 times and you have refused to even address it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Moss/100003560366510 Jack Moss

    The story is bogus and meant to detract from a story breaking tomorrow about Obama’s Blind Eye to Illegal Donors.

  • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

    That man looks constipated.

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  • Commander_Chico_Cognoscente

    George McGovern ran as an antiwar candidate in 1972. By November, almost all U.S. troops were home from Vietnam, however, and in late October Henry Kissinger had announced, “Peace is at hand.” Nixon had expropriated the peace issue. Result: 49 states.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/peace-is-the-ticket-to-victory/

    And Romney is not even an anti-war candidate. Au contraire.

  • jim_m

    Apparently the surprise is on the NYT with both Iran and the White House denying this report.

    “We don’t have any discussions or negotiations with America,” Iranian
    Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a news conference on Sunday.
    “The (nuclear) talks are ongoing with the P5+1 group of nations. Other
    than that, we have no discussions with the United States.”

    Looks like more media spinning to help the obama campaign.