Indecent proposal, nuclear edition

Keeping up with the news and commentary that followed the interim deal with Iran on its nuclear program late last year, I found the Iranian authorities to be a better source of information than Obama administration spokesmen. The Iranian authorities justifiably elaborated with victors’ pride the concessions they had extracted from the United States and the other parties; the Obama administration preferred to play down the concessions.

Since then the parties have been locked in negotiations over a permanent deal with a looming deadline next month (November 24). We haven’t heard much about the negotiations lately. This Associated Press update by George Jahn is based on remarks by Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani for a domestic audience, with a worrisome claim or two:

Rouhani told Iranian [Iranian] lawmakers during a meeting on Tuesday night that Iran and the six-nation group — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — have come a long way in sorting out major issues but that they still differ over issues such as “quantity,” the Iranian state TV reported.

“We have reached understanding on part of the issues…and part of it (the deal) remains to be negotiated,” Rouani was quoted as saying.

According to Rouhani, there is no longer any dispute about allowing Iran to maintain its enrichment program, keep its heavy water reactor in the city of Arak going or operate its underground enrichment facility at Fordo.

“The only differences (that remain) are about details and quantity,” Rouhani said without elaborating.

Rouhani’s assertion that only the details need to be worked out reminds me of the old joke about sex and money in which a man asks a woman if she would be willing to sleep with him if he pays her an exorbitant sum. She replies affirmatively. He then names a paltry amount and asks if she would still be willing to sleep with him for the revised fee. The woman is greatly offended and replies:

She: What kind of woman do you think I am?

He: We’ve already established that. Now we’re just haggling over the price.

As Roger Ebert noted, the movie Indecent Proposal was inspired by the joke. The link on the joke above investigates its origin in addition to retelling it.

In any event, “haggling over the price” seems to be about where Iran is with us.


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