Geneva – history’s crucible yet again
Exciting times in Geneva.
We have lift-off!
Not in the nuclear missiles sense but in the diplomatic sense. It’s back to the 1980’s – and forward to a potential new world order.
So often have I stood in the meeting halls of Geneva; in hotel foyers and outside UN missions on draughty pavements, and here we are again.
Iran and the world talking, and talking specifics about nuclear issues, energy sanctions, and draconian curbs on Iran’s ability to do business with the outside world.
Rouhani was not here, but his Foreign Minister Mr Zarif was. I came here for former US Secretary of State James Baker’ deliberation’s with Yasser Arafat of the PLO. Came here again for Gorbachev and Reagan, and now this.
(Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi speaking to me in Geneva)
Here was the EU, finally playing a power brokering role in bringing together America, France, Germany. Britain, Russia, China, AND Iran. America, who ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has lived in hope that Iran would simply somehow curl up under a stone and wither away.
Battered by some of the most targeted sanctions ever deployed, Iran has failed to wither but has indeed suffered.
In part that explains the Rouhani-led change of heart.
But in part this great conflab is explained by our need to embrace Iran back into the family of nations, most specifically to help us address the mayhem that our military interventions have shared in.
In Afghanistan, Iraq, and to a very different and large extent Syria, Iranian muscle and influence is pivotal.
Last night Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative who chaired the meeting, and has done so for five abortive attempts previously, declared they had talked more detail than ever before.
(EU High Representative Catherin Ashton speaking to me in Geneva)
There is a dynamic in play at last.
Technical experts will be landing by the planeload this week, to work on nuclear and sanctions details. They will lay the ground work for another set of high level multinational talks on November 7th.
They are talking turkey about and with Iran!
As I said, at the beginning,
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