Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Cautious optimism"

"... Turning to Iran, the Administration has achieved a modest victory is persuading the Democratic sponsors of tougher sanctions to delay their bill to allow the diplomatic negotiations – which resume on February 18th – to proceed.  State Department officials concede that they are operating against a very skeptical climate in Congress and that, if Tehran adopts what are perceived to be delaying tactics, the sanctions proposals would be re-introduced at very short notice. Within the State Department negotiating team, cautious optimism that a deal is reachable remains the consensus sentiment – in contrast to most analytic and political opinion which is much more pessimistic. The open question, which receives little attention, is what happens if negotiations fail. From conversations we have held in official circles, our sense is that a policy of containment is just as likely as one of military coercion. ..."

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