Iran's Stalling Tactic May Have Backfired

Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post on Monday, September 19, 2005 wrote an article, "Iran's President Does What U.S. Diplomacy Could Not" showing how Iran's new president bought his country some time. She wrote, "Facing mounting criticism after walking away from negotiations with Europe and restarting part of Iran's nuclear program, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked the world to withhold diplomatic pressure while he put together new proposals."">Iran's President Does What U.S. Diplomacy Could Not" showing how Iran's new president bought his country some time. She wrote, "Facing mounting criticism after walking away from negotiations with Europe and restarting part of Iran's nuclear program, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked the world to withhold diplomatic pressure while he put together new proposals."
We live in a fast-paced society. Between faxes, email, pagers and mobile telephones, there is precious little time taken to reflect on the negotiation once it begins. But the pace of the discussions is something that you can and should manage. Just because the other party is in a hurry is no reason for you to rush a response or even respond. Take your time, assess your options, and set your strategy carefully. Then respond. You gain power and authority by setting the pace of the negotiations.

Keeping the other person in the dark can also be useful. When you use delay as a tactic, you do not need to tell everyone. Sometimes the unknown can forestall an action that jeopardizes your position while you regain your composure. When you are fully prepared, go on the offensive.

Linzer postulates that when the Iranian president contined, "Ahmadinejad appeared to threaten as much when he warned from the General Assembly podium that in the face of U.S. provocation, 'we will reconsider our entire approach to the nuclear issue'."

But such tactics can backfire. "The effect of that speech will likely be a toughening of the international response to Iran because it was seen by so many countries as overly harsh, negative and uncompromising," Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns said in an interview Sunday. "The strategic aim of a great many countries is to see Iran suspend its nuclear program and return to peaceful negotiations with the Europeans."