From the Grey Lady…

Iran: Ready to Resolve Dispute, and Eager to Ease Sanctions…

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday that Iran was prepared to resolve the nuclear dispute with world powers at their next meeting, in Baghdad on May 23, if the West showed some good will by easing the sanctions imposed on Iran. Mr. Salehi, above, also hinted that Iran might be willing to change its uranium enrichment policy, which is at the heart of foreign suspicions that the Iranians are secretly developing the capacity to make nuclear weapons…

However, Bibi took serious umbrage with the whole talks idea, thundering…

…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has harshly criticized the talks on Saturday between Iran and six world powers, saying “my initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie” to carry on with its nuclear program.

Netanyahu said the decision to continue the talks on May 23 gives Tehran five more weeks to enrich uranium as it likes.

I think Iran should take immediate steps to stop all enrichment, take out all enrichment material and dismantle the nuclear facility in Qom,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “I believe that the world’s greatest practitioner of terrorism must not have the opportunity to develop atomic bombs.

Netanyahu’s statement came after he was briefed by the White House about Saturday’s talks in Istanbul…

DM Ehud Barak had more to add… Nuclear talks don’t exempt Iran from attack…

…Israel’s defense minister said on Tuesday that Israeli military action against Iran remains an option even while nuclear negotiations are under way, and voiced strong doubts whether the talks would succeed, Reuters reported.

Asked whether the negotiations, which began in Turkey on Saturday, could persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment, Ehud Barak told Army Radio: “It does not look to me as if it is going to happen – not now, in the wake of Istanbul, and not … after the (Baghdad round of talks next month).”

Barak is due to meet U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Washington on Thursday amid speculation in the Israeli media that Israel has promised its main ally that it will refrain from attacking Iran while the talks continue.

We are not committing to anything,” Barak said, when asked whether any such pledge had been made. “There is not, there has not been, there should not be and there cannot be (such a promise).”

To further emphasize the point… Israeli TV report shows air force gearing up for Iran attack, says moment of truth is near…

IAF expects losses, and knows it can’t destroy entire Iranian program

…The report, screened on the main evening news of Channel 10, was remarkable both in terms of the access granted to the reporter, who said he had spent weeks with the pilots and other personnel he interviewed, and in the fact that his assessments on a strike were cleared by the military censor.

No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. “But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.” {snip}

…Ben-David said the Israel Air Force “does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian program.” There will be no replication of the decisive strikes on Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 or on Syria in 2007, he said. “The result won’t be definitive.” But, a pilot quoted in the report said, the IAF will have to ensure that it emerges with the necessary result, with “a short and professional” assault.

Ben-David said that if negotiations break down, and Iran moves key parts of its nuclear program underground to its Qom facility, the IAF “is likely to get the order and to set out on the long journey to Iran.”

Years of preparations are likely to come to realization,” he said, adding that “the moment of truth is near.

Even Foggy Bottom wasn’t very helpful… U.S. rules out easing Iran sanctions…

…“No one’s talking about any sanctions being reversed or canceled at all,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in response.

But Toner said that the United States, echoing a statement by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was ready to look at incentives in return for progress from Iran.

We want to see Iran come up with some concrete proposals moving forward and that if that were to happen, we would look at ways — Cathy Ashton’s statement said as much — to reciprocate,” Toner said. {snip}

US President Barack Obama, speaking Sunday on a visit to Colombia, said that the United States has not “given away” anything to Iran after Netanyahu charged that Tehran had received a “freebie” to buy itself extra time.

Toner also denied any “freebie” for Iran, saying: “We’ve got the strongest sanctions in history against Iran right now, and they’re going to get stronger as we move into the summer.

And to further add insult to injury, in true Bipartisan fashion too…Senators Reject Iran Talks, Demand More Sanctions…

Somebody, please tell me what ‘incentives’ are being proffered to Iran…! I can’t find hide nor hair of ‘em…!

*gah*