“Diplomacy” is “The art and practice of conducting negotiations between nations (particularly in securing treaties), including the methods and forms usually employed” (Webster’s 1913).
The prerequisite for such negotiations is that there be something negotiable, and that in turn rests mutual agreement as to pertinent facts.
US President Barack Obama’s pledge to pursue “diplomacy” vis a vis Iran’s nuclear program rings hollow, because there’s a huge disconnect between US and Israeli political propaganda on one hand and the facts as they are understood by everyone else (including the US and Israeli intelligence communities) on the other.
The US/Israeli propaganda line is that Iran is pursuing, and close to achieving, nuclear weapons. That line never changes — according to Benjamin Netanyahu, Tehran is six months from having a functional nuke … and has been for a decade.
Iran’s propaganda line, which is much more convincing, is that their nuclear program is entirely for civilian purposes and that they have no interest in nuclear weapons.
One reason that line is much more convincing is that Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khameni, issued a fatwa in 2006 declaring the development or possession of nuclear weapons a sin against Islam and declaring that the government he heads would never pursue them. Keep in mind that according to the US and Israeli propaganda line, Iran’s government is composed of a bunch of religious extremists who really believe all the crazy things they say in the name of Islam … except for this one thing.
Another reason the Iranian line is more convincing than the US/Israeli line is that the Iranian line agrees with the findings of both US and Israeli intelligence communities, who believe that Iran ceased working on nuclear weapons at least a decade ago.
So: What is there to negotiate?
Obama claims, unconvincingly, that Iran is pursuing nuclear arms and his goal is to stop them.
Rouhani claims, convincingly, that Iran is not pursuing nuclear arms.
For “diplomacy” to work here, one of two things has to happen. Either Obama must be willing to take “you already got what you said you wanted” for an answer — which he’s made quite clear he’s unwilling to do — or Rouhani must be willing to confess that his government has been lying for years, which is equally unlikely, especially given that the evidence says it hasn’t.
The only thing the US government and the Iranian government have in common is that both of them want to run Iran. That doesn’t bode well for “diplomacy.”