I’m finally done fighting with my brand new Christmas smoker. I got it up to temperature and it’s smoking a 4lb. brisket. Now I can get back to blogging. One thing I feel is likely to come to a head in 2012 is the situation with Iran’s nuclear program. I’m pleased to see that new sanctions and threats of even more sanctions have finally brought Iran back to the negotiating table. The invasion of Iraq freaked the Iranian government out for a while and they stopped working on a nuclear weapon. At least, that’s what our intelligence community concluded, much to the neo-cons consternation. But it appears that they started it again once it became clear that we were bogged down in Iraq like a dinosaur in the La Brea tar pits. As Iraq marks today as a new national holiday, signifying the official end of the U.S. occupation, Iran can no longer count on America’s overextended military for protection. They can threaten to close the Straits of Hormuz, but they can’t think they’d be able to do it with impunity or that America would be stretched thin by their response.

The Obama administration does not want a military conflict with Iran, and it may not need one to stop Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

Top negotiator Saeed Jalili has said Iran is ready to rejoin EU-led talks with major powers on assuaging Western concerns over its nuclear programme even as tensions with the United States soar in the Gulf.

“We will give a resounding and many-pronged response to any threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Jalili told Iranian diplomats gathered in Tehran in comments reported on Saturday.
But both he and other officials left the door open to resuming long-stalled talks led by European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program me.

“We officially told them to come back to the negotiation based on cooperation,” Jalili said.

The thing to worry about is the possibility that these talks fail. And that could be a big story in 2012 that has a big impact on the U.S. presidential elections and on the government and stability of Iran.

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