Analysis

Iran: Hopes for Diplomacy Dim as Tehran Lashes Out
An Iranian worker puts the final touches on a mural painting on a building west of Tehran on February 21, depicting late Major General Hossein Kharazi, who was killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Murals like this reflect Iran’s 'martyr' culture, celebrating those who gave their lives for the Islamic Republic. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
February 24, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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The war of words between Iran, Israel, and the West reached fever pitch this week, likely ending hopes for a diplomatic solution to the high-stakes standoff. Isolated and on the ropes, Tehran is antipathetic toward any kind of concessions and seems bent on proving its willingness to employ hostile measures to defy its critics. The question remains: How far will Tehran go to make its point?Many Western officials were cautiously optimistic last week when Tehran sent a letter of response to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing the regime’s willingness to resume diplomatic talks with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Western officials had said that a response to Ashton’s original correspondence in October would be a prerequisite for another round of negotiations, the last of which broke down in early 2011.
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