From Frank Brodhead’s Iran War Weekly:
While nuclear negotiators will meet Wednesday in Istanbul, little progress is expected in the diplomatic standoff about Iran’s nuclear program before Iran’s presidential election, which will take place on June 14th. With Iran’s reform movement still not recovered from its crushing defeat in 2009, until now the presidential election appeared to be a mere jockeying for power within conservative leadership circles, but it took on a more volatile character on Saturday, when both former president Rafsanjani and a protégé of current president Ahmadinejad registered their candidacies at the last minute. There are some very good articles about the election – both candidates and electoral procedures – linked below.
Whether Iran’s election will take place in greatly altered circumstances as a result of the escalation of the war in Syria is another question. The consequences of Israel’s two bombing attacks on Syria a week ago are still unfolding. The US- and Russian-sponsored “international conference” on Syria scheduled for sometime in late May or June appears to have been poorly thought out (or poorly reported). Among other questions, Who is invited? Iran? Israel? Lebanon (Hezbollah)? Or just the US/NATO plus Russia? And who among the warring parties? Armed Islamist groups, or just those included in the US-sponsored coalition? Already the US-supported Free Syrian Army has announced it will not negotiate with the Assad people, which of course is the point of the conference. Or is it? Is the conference merely a theatrical ploy, with its anticipated failure leading inexorably to military escalation and deeper US intervention?
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