situation report

Feb 1, 2010 | 17:17 GMT

1 min read

Brief: Iran Reopening Dialogue With The U.S. Through Switzerland?

Applying STRATFOR analysis to breaking news.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, arrived in Geneva Feb. 1 for meetings with high-ranking Swiss officials, according to state-owned Iranian Student's News Agency (ISNA). The report claims that the purpose of Mashaie's two-day visit to Geneva concerns the welfare of Iranians living in Switzerland, but this visit is likely intended to discuss more serious concerns. Iran often uses the Swiss to communicate with the United States in back-channel negotiations, and Mashaie is a close confidante of the Iranian president, whose son is married to Mashaie's daughter. STRATFOR has received several indications from Iranian sources that Tehran is moving toward reopening a dialogue with the U.S. administration after having sent threatening signals over the instability Iran can produce in places like Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Such a diplomatic outreach would be designed to reduce pressure on Tehran over the country's nuclear program, but it remains to be seen whether Iran is willing to make tangible concessions on its nuclear program, or if this is simply another stalling tactic.

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