Above: IRGC-ASF parades thirty TEL-mounted MRBMs, September 2013
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Talks on a permanent Iran nuclear accord opened Tuesday with the U.S. pressing Tehran to agree the deal should encompass caps on its expanding ballistic missile capabilities.
The dispute is the latest in a growing number of issues that divide Washington and Tehran as the Obama administration seeks to use diplomacy to end the military threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.
The U.S. and its allies view Iran's missiles as part of the country's potential nuclear threat, thus a subject for the talks on a permanent nuclear agreement.
"They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
But Iran says the missiles are part of its defense establishment and beyond the limits of nuclear talks. In any case, the issue of whether Iran's ballistic missile capabilities will be on the agenda already has exposed a rift between the Americans and Iranians.Focusing on Iranian defense-related issues on the first day of negotiations in Vienna serves to deflect and throw off balance Iran's stated agenda of demonstrating its nuclear program is peaceful in nature.
This is the sort of thing the SL branch of IRIG, the IRGC and a majority of Iran's parliament have been expecting, in their publicly voiced pessimism that these talks would not succeed.
Like the previous Khatami administration during the early 2000's where Iran made attempts at improving relations with the U.S., Britain and France, engaging in negotiations in 2003 that went nowhere and even going so far as assisting U.S. military endeavors during the lead-up and initial phase of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the current Rouhani administration has gone out on a political limb in again reaching out to the United States with hopes of improved relations.
By focusing on matters of Iran's defense crucial to its doctrine of deterrence from attack, the Obama administration risks missing opportunities the likes of which missed during the Bush administration, and by doing so potentially providing a domestically perceived sense of vindication to political forces inside Iran dismissive or outright resistant to yet another Iranian outreach effort.