The European Union closed out its latest round of talks with Iran over its nuclear program, proclaiming disappointment over the results. Javier Solana said the two sides would meet again in a month, but that will not stop the matter from returning to the UN Security Council. The US will press for another round of harsher sanctions:
The European Union said it was disappointed after talks with Iran on Friday seen as a last chance to avert U.S. pressure for tougher international sanctions over Tehran’s disputed atomic program.
The absence of a breakthrough at the London talks means six world powers meeting in Paris on Saturday will try to agree new penalties to propose to the United Nations, despite differences in their approach to halting Iran’s nuclear program.
“I have to admit that after five hours of meetings I expected more. I am disappointed,” EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters, adding he would meet Iran’s negotiator Saeed Jalili again before the end of December.
Iran, which had earlier vowed to pursue its disputed atomic program come what may, said it thought the negotiations had been “positive” and that talks would continue.
Solana responded negatively when asked whether Iran had brought any new initiatives to the table. He told reporters that Jalili had not proposed enough to keep from being disappointed. Jalili, on the other hand, sounded delighted, as did Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki when speaking to Basiji militia members. Mottaki declared that America had “lost” the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program.
We’ll see. The US will now demand the EU’s full cooperation on sanctions, as well as Russia and China. After hosting the inordinately-quiet Annapolis peace conference this week, all of these players in the Iranian drama owe us a few more chits, and the White House will not hesitate to leverage them for harsher economic and diplomatic penalties on Teheran. Russia and China may balk, but the EU will probably have little choice but to comply. Nicolas Sarkozy stripped Europe of its fig leaf a few months ago, pointing out that war will be the only other option open to the West.
This may turn into a game of economic chicken. If the West squeezes hard enough, either the mullahs will have to back down and stop their enrichment, or the economic collapse will force Iranians to replace the mullahs. Let’s hope the squeeze works before their nuclear device does.