Diplomatic dancing

The U.S. recently sent signals to Iran that are not as conflicting as they seem. The Clinton administration recently announced that it will reject Mobil Corp.'s request to swap Caspian Sea crude oil with Iran, but, at the same time, also said that it would remove sanctions blocking U.S. food and medicine sales to Iran. U.S.-Iranian relations have been strained for 20 years, and although they may be improving, changes are scarcely perceptible to those not wearing diplomatic monocles. Mobil's request was logical and consistent with international oil industry practices. It proposed a year ago to deliver some of its Turkmenistan production to a refinery in northern Ir...

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