An Iran PSA

Hi there. I’m Some Guy on the Internet, who has an unexpected free few minutes today to give you some friendly advice about getting wrapped up in all the latest Iran nuclear talks news from Vienna and elsewhere: don’t do it. Oh, I mean, if you’re interested in the outcome of the talks or, I don’t know, following international negotiations is a hobby for you, then by all means stay on top of what’s going on. Just don’t put much stock into most of the drama. Don’t get yourself worked up when Barack Obama says that there’s now a “below 50/50” chance of a deal being reached, and don’t have a cow when you read that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif have been having “heated exchanges” behind closed doors; so heated, apparently, that aides have had to caution them to keep their voices down. Don’t get too high or too low when Reuters tells you that a deal is “close, but…”; a deal has been “close, but…” for a while now. And don’t reach for the smelling salts when you hear that Zarif has been uttering “threatening” lines that sound like they belong in a 1950s B movie, like “Never threaten an Iranian” (I’m sure Zarif thought it sounded threatening, anyway).

It is impossible, at this point in the process, to separate how much of this kind of stuff reflects real sentiment and how much of it is put on for show to try to nudge some last bit of concession out of the other side. Maybe a really seasoned negotiator who was directly familiar with what’s going on in Vienna could separate one from the other for you, but I’m not one of those people, I’m assuming you’re not either, and I know the reporters covering the talks aren’t, even the ones who are very good at what they’re doing. So my advice would be to ignore it; pay attention to the substance of the talks but forget about anything that looks like it might be posturing, because there’s a very good chance that it’s precisely that.

Thanks for your time and I hope this helps. Enjoy your day!

Hey, thanks for reading! If you come here often, and you like what I do, would you please consider contributing something (sorry, that page is a work in progress) to keeping this place running and me out of debtor’s prison? Thank you!

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