Scott Lucas parses:
With his offer last night to send Iran’s 3.5-percent uranium outside the country in exchange for 20-percent stock, the President was reversing a line that had been maintained for months...That is a major shift, and it remains to be seen why Ahmadinejad made his move (and note that he made it in a hastily-called interview on national television), as well as signalling that there was talks about trading three US detainees for Iranian prisoners held abroad. The immediate speculation would be that there have been behind-the-scenes talks with brokers such as Turkey; the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US had both signalled in recent days that a deal was still on the table. At the same time, although the President is staying clear of the internal crisis in his public comments and actions, I have to wonder if he has also made this unexpected move to try and grab some “legitimacy” before 11 February.
Lucas also flags this analysis by Jahanshah Javid:
When Khomeini finally agreed to a ceasefire after eight years of a futile and devastating war with Iraq, he likened it to drinking poison. What he was alluding to was that for the entire course of the war he and the rest of the leadership had vowed that the Islamic Republic would never ever ever rest until Saddam Hossein was punished for invading Iran.
Suddenly the weight of reality had forced Khomeini to surrender. Suddenly all his daily uncompromising speeches, all those "War War Until Victory" slogans rang hollow. He had led hundreds of thousands of young men to their deaths, seen the destruction of much of the country's military and economic infrastructure, sent thousands of young men and women to the gallows for their opposition to the regime, and gotten little satisfaction in return. The tremendous sense of guilt and shame was the poison that killed him less than a year later.
Now the Islamic Republic has again swallowed poison in the face of enormous international pressure and domestic upheaval. Suddenly it is bowing to the U.N. after years of insisting that it would never ever ever compromise over its enrichment program.
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