Facing a potentially devastating oil embargo, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that his government was ready to resume talks with foreign leaders who want to curb Iran's controversial nuclear program. But Ahmadinejad said international pressure would not force his country to give up enriching uranium, a demand that caused talks to break down last year. Are tough sanctions working, or is Ahmadinejad just trying to trick the West into loosening the noose?
It's foolish to trust Iran: Ahmadinejad and Iran's ruling mullahs aren't really seeking a nuclear truce, says Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. They're just trying to give President Obama "an excuse to back away from the confrontation." They know Obama has to talk tough to counter election-year attacks from Republicans, but they're confident he's in no rush to start an embargo that could trigger "a spike in oil and gas prices and help send an already shaky economy into another tailspin."
"Will Obama take Ahmadinejad's bait?"
Tehran can't win this time: "No one trusts Iran" when it insists it wants only nuclear energy, not bombs, says The Seattle Times in an editorial. That's why the U.S., Europe, and even China are now hitting Iran with "hardball diplomacy." Otherwise, Tehran will never start "talking seriously" about definitively swearing off a quest for nuclear weapons. "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can compete with bluster and bellicosity, but he is no match for a united front."
"Diplomats flex their economic options and Iran gets squeezed"
Iran's leaders care about survival more than nukes: "It's far too early to declare victory," says Michael Moran at Slate, but "the end is nigh." With its currency collapsing and oil revenues threatening to dry up, Tehran is getting desperate — why else would it threaten a suicidal move like shutting down Gulf oil shipping lanes? The mullahs know their regime's very survival is at stake, and it looks like they're "interested more in self-preservation and holding onto power than in [sowing the seeds of] nuclear Armageddon."
"Iran's crisis: The Saudis in the catbird seat"