A DEAL WITH IRAN?….Hmmm. Iran says it has reached an agreement to allow its uranium enrichment to be done on Russian soil:

“Regarding this joint venture, we have reached a basic agreement,” said Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the country’s nuclear chief….

“There are different parts that need to be discussed,” he said, according to Russian news agencies. “These are not just related to forming a company, there are other elements. There are political issues and the proposal should be seen as a package.”

He went on to say that Iran has “set a precondition,” which he declined to specify. Russian analysts following the talks said Iran wants security guarantees that it would not be attacked by the United States.

There’s no telling how real this is or what the “political issues” actually are, but if it turns out to have genuine substance it will force the United States to make a choice: what, if anything, are we willing to give up in return for credible guarantees that Iran is not developing a nuclear bomb?

As it happens, there’s probably no set of guarantees that would be acceptable to both sides. But what if there were? If the international community were able to defy the odds and get Iranian agreement to an inspection regime that was strict and verifiable ? and that didn’t involve Israeli disarmament as one of its “preconditions” ? would we be willing to sign some kind of security/nonagression treaty with Iran? Or would the Bush administration quickly concoct an intricate set of nonnegotiable stumbling blocks related to Iraq/Syria/Hezbollah/etc. that torpedoed the whole thing?

I’m just chatting out loud here since there’s not really enough substance in the news reports to come to any firm conclusions. Feel free to chime in in comments.

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