Whether this was an election ploy or the real deal, yesterday Obama administration officials "leaked" to the New York Times, (obviously meant for Sunday publication), the administration had reached a mutual agreement "in principle" with Iran on direct one-on-one negotiations.
At the same time however, the White House on Saturday evening formally denied any agreement had been reached insisting, "It's not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections".
Such is the state of U.S. diplomacy that "leaks" to the press (when the administration wants them divulged) represent official policy while formal announcements are just cover in case the "leaks" don't resonate favorably with American people. Oh well let's not get too picky when a positive development does occur.
Also according to these unnamed officials Iran insisted the talks take place after the presidential election to determine who exactly they would be negotiating with.
In light of the last presidential debate to be held this week is to focus on national security and foreign policy, it seems pretty obvious the Obama crowd decided one-on-one negotiations with Iran could be helpful to the president's re-election prospects considering recent polls of the American people has a majority opposed to war with Iran. So it follows direct negotiations to avert war with Iran would also be looked upon favorably by the people.
In contrast, Mitt Romney has been on record on numerous occasions lambasting Obama as being "weak on Iran". But if Romney comes out openly opposing direct one-on-one negotiations he'll open himself up to criticism that he rejected a proposal to avert war without considering all diplomatic alternatives.
So yes it was a calculated move by the Obama administration days before the last debate and 16 days before the election to embrace direct diplomacy with Iran while attempting to put Romney in a box.
From here, it's horrid that direct one-on-one negotiations with Iran have become another campaign football to be tossed about as presidential election fodder, rather than a formally announced given embraced by all candidates to avert another unnecessary war.
Let's remember, Iran's nuclear development is permissible as a signee and member of the nuclear non proliferation treaty. All 17 U.S. national security agencies in 2007 agreed Iran ceased development of a nuclear weapon in 2003. That assessment has not changed.
Yet harsh economic sanctions have been placed on Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposes war with Iran if "red lines" in the sand are breeched in Iran's nuclear development. Meanwhile the U.S. and Israel have initiated cyberwarfare on Iran's computers controlling uranium enrichment, have been connected to the assassination of Iran's nuclear scientists, not to mention the two American carrier task force groups now operating in the Persian Gulf off the Iranian coast are all provocations meant to stop Iran's nuclear development.
But if the madness of initiating a war with Iran can be averted by real one-on-one negotiations without pre-conditions and not politicized and condemned as appeasement, the world will be saved from another unnecessary atrocity from being committed.