At least some Iranian officials appear somewhat skeptical of the “Bush administration’s limited incentives”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/index.php?id=475 for Tehran to comply with the EU3’s negotiating demands.
Senior Iranian negotiator Sirus Naseri told Iranian state television 15 March:
bq. As far as America is concerned, we said: Ms Rice, are you prepared to shut down two of your power plants if we supply you with pistachios? We said that we would supply them with a three year stock of pistachios. However, we will supply their pistachios lorry by lorry because they said things would have to be taken step by step and when we see any progress, we will reward them with more pistachios. This is how ridiculous the situation is.
Mmmmmmmm….pistachios. I bet they next offer a fruit basket…
*Jeffrey’s 2 cents:* ACW reader AM sends word that Iranian pistacho merchants have been reluctant to include their product in a barter deal for Bushehr:
A high-powered delegation of Russian nuclear industry officials is traveling to Tehran this week to negotiate details of how Iran will pay for nuclear reactor construction contracts worth a total of $1 billion. … [Russian officials] are proposing to be paid by a combination of cash and Iranian barter goods. Sources in Tehran say about $700 million is to be paid to Moscow in cash, and $300 million in Iranian barter goods.
At the same time, the Iranians have come up with a high-powered product of their own. Presented for the first time at the WorldFood-97 exhibition in Moscow last week, the Iranian wonder product reportedly does one thing nuclear energy cannot – it revives flagging male sexual potency. It’s the pistachio nut prepared with saffron.
“Iranians don’t suffer from impotence,” said Mohammed Karimiapour, director of Arian Milan, one of Iran’s leading exporters of pistachios. “But for centuries, Iran’s shahs have used saffron with their pistachios to cure this ill. In the northern countries of Europe, the saffron pistachio is now being advertised for this purpose. I’ve seen the case studies and letters that have poured in.”
In the much larger barter deal now in planning, Iranian merchants are competing hard for inclusion of their products. But Mr. Karimiapour says the pistachio traders are holding back. Because of this year’s supply shortage and rising prices, most of the Iranians believe they can do better selling directly for hard currency, rather than accept the barter terms and currency controls that will be overseen by the Iranian Central Bank.
But Mr. Karimiapour is confident about the future of Iran’s pistachio trade in Russia. He’s also taken a long, hard look at the American competition. “They are rounder, with less taste than our nuts. Also, they can’t offer what we can for the Russian man.”
“They are rounder, with less taste than our nuts.” AWESOME.
In case you don’t believe me: John Helmer, “Iranian Nuclear Trade With Russia Goes Nuts; Pistachios Marketed For Sexual Potency,” _Journal of Commerce_ (June 11, 1997) 7B.