The weekend’s six power talks with the Iranians about their
nuclear programme were more fruitful than many, including I, expected. It seems that the EU sanctions on Iranian oil and gas, which are due to come into force in July, have concentrated minds in
Tehran. However, we won’t know whether the Iranians are just playing for time again until the next set of talks in Baghdad on the May 23.
These six power talks are an imperfect vehicle in that the Russians and the Chinese take a far softer line than the French, British, Germans and Americans. But as James Blitz blogs
"http://blogs.ft.com/the-world/2012/04/ashton-impresses-in-istanbul/?catid=146&SID=google#axzz1s9DLbjy9">over at the FT, one of the most striking things is that the Europeans are tougher on
Tehran than the Americans who are very keen to avoid having Iran dominate Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Another thing worth noting is the praise that Blitz has for Cathy Ashton, the British commissioner and EU Vice President for Foreign Affairs. Ashton’s job shouldn’t exist in my opinion.
But the early signs are that she is handling the Iranian negotiations impressively.