msnbc | April 21, 2012
>>> now to the ongoing dispute over iran's nuclear program . a new report claims oil prices could rise 30% this year if the country's exhorts are halted. but there are signs last weekend's negotiations between iran and global leaders could put all sides closer to a resolution. my next guest has a new op ed in "the washington post " that says the stage is set for a teel deal with iran . joining me is david ignatius . welcome to you, david.
>> hi, alex.
>> saw that headline thinking to myself, could it be true? what makes you say that?
>> the readout that i got after the first negotiating session which was a week ago today, saturday in istanbul, was that the iranians appear to have come to bargain. and the shape of the deal on which the bargaining will take place would be an iranian agreement to limit enrichment to low levels and to send higher enriched uranium outside the country for enrichment to the level they claim they need for medical isotopes. but that higher enrichment would not be done within the country. and u.s. officials feel that that would satisfy their concerns about not giving iran the tools with which to make a nuclear weapon .
>> if this is ? legit, david, what has prompted the change?
>> i think two things. first, the iranians are already feeling the bite of the economic sanctions the u.s. has led with international support and they know much worse sanctions are coming july 1. and they're really going to hurt the iranian economy . it's possible their oil exhorts could be cut very significantly. the sec thing is president obama during his meetings with israeli prime minister netanyahu is prepared to use military force down the road if iran does not agree to halt what we regard as a program heading toward nuclear weapon . u.s. officials thought the iranians were prepared to bargain. they came away from this meeting quite waup upbeat about the prospects for a final round .
>> thursday, the iranian oil minister threatened to cut oil exhort. does this conflict with your assertion that there is progress in the talks?
>> i don't think so. i think you're going to see a lot of jockeying over the next few months. the iranians will threaten to counter cut off and the u.s. and europe will threaten additional sanctions. it's going to be a game of chicken that's going to be played along to to a deal, if a deal can be released. the basic framework is that it will step by step , that is to say a series of incremental moves. and ? it will be reciprocal. they're going to keep up their bluster and we'll keep up our talk of additional sanctions.
>> but what about this week when a little earlier when benjamin netanyahu made comments about -- we're going to listen to this. here it is.
>> well, my initial impression is that iran has been given a freebie. it's got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.
>> any credence to that claim?
>> i think it's entirely understandable and appropriate that israel keep on the pressure, netanyahu saying, he didn't get anything yet for the agreement to continue negotiations. i do think the israelis understand and except that the united states is seeking a negotiated settlement that avoids military conflict . i think that's actually in israel 's interest. but israel wants to keep up as much pressure. you'll see statements from netanyahu , warning, expressing concerns that the con kecessions from iran are not enough.
>> if these talks prove successful and the next round which starts on may 23rd , does this mean the possibility of a military strike against iran is off the table completely?
>> no, you can't say it's off the table. what you can say is that as of today, after this first round of resumed negotiations, military action between israel or the u.s. and iran is less likely than it was a few months ago. that's not to say that the s gone. threat until we have a deal, an announcement, an acceptance of that deal by everybody concerned, you have to remain nervous. but it's less likely than it was.
>> david ignatius , thank you.