The latest whispers from within the regime suggest that the West’s “twin-track” strategy of tightening sanctions and offering talks could yet succeed in breaking the impasse over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
One senior member of the hierarchy and two outside supporters have acknowledged that some within the power structure want to ease tensions. All three personally favour resisting the pressure, but their comments – as reported in the Iranian media – lift the veil on an internal debate over whether to settle the nuclear issue.
General Mohammed Ali Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and a pillar of the regime, has been most explicit. He is reported as saying: “Some have succumbed to pressures in the all-out economic war imposed on the Islamic Republic by its enemies and are suggesting a different course of action.”
Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan, works for a newspaper that generally reflects the views of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. Mr Shariatmadari is reported as telling a student audience: “Those who suggest compromise and retreat in the nuclear issue are not aware that the US will impose more sanctions after that, for its objective is to change the Islamic Republic’s behaviour.”
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Iran’s parliament, is reported as saying: “The nuclear field is very important to us, but some individuals ask ‘how important is this issue for us to have to tolerate all this pressure and these sanctions’?”