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The elephant in the room: "Six plus one" talks on Iran's nuclear program
Today Xinhua reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here Friday that the format of "six plus one" for Iranian nuclear talks should continue.
I assume this was an error by Lavrov but it is quite an interesting error. The talks are formally with the FIVE plus one -- specifically, the P5 and Germany (The P5 are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: Russia, US, France, UK, China.)
But there is a sixth member of the talks that does not get mentioned: Israel. Even though Israel is not formally involved in the talks, it has a significant effect and influence on these talks, so much so that it might as well be involved formally. After all, wasn't it Netanyahu who instructed Obama that the US red line should be moved from Iranian nuclear weapons to even a "capability", thus in effect requiring the US to press for an end to uranium enrichment in Iran entirely -- contrary to initial reports that the P5+1 had decided that the talks should be based on the NPT, which meant an implicit recognition of Iran's right to enrichment. The demand that Iran abandon this right, by the way, obviously has no chance of being accepted by the Iranian side, thus ensuring that the talks fail -- which has been the goal of Netanyahu all along.
So, yes, perhaps the more accurate way to refer to these talks is not P5+1, but "Six plus one". I suggest everyone refer to them as such.