I do not have a crystal balll, nor am I good at reading tea leaves.


However, drawing on what one used to do back in the day--diving the political developments in the Soviet Union or China by where people stood in public functions like parades or Communist Party meetings-- I would say that the 10th round of the Iran and 5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) nuclear talks scheduled to begin in Muscat, capital of Oman, on November 11, 2014, will be a momentous occasion.

For one thing, the date is also the anniversary of Armistice Day that ended World War I. Second, Musact is where it all began--the US willingness to engage Iran in these--going as far back as the the last months of the Ahmadinehad presidency. One John Kerry flew into Muscat and met in secret with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The choice of this venue was perfect as Omani government had played the intermediary a few times before between the US, on one hand, and the governments of Iran and Pakistan on separate occasions.

It is, if you'd like, the Algeria of yore where the US diplomats would meet with their Iranian counterparts, or where Iranian diplomats would meet with Iraqi representatives.

Why would this gathering in Muscat signal the fruitful end of the nuclear negotiations?

Well, it would the right place for the two sides to announce an agreement, each recognizing and thanking the good offices of Oman in the cause of peace. After all it would be untoward and impolite--bad form-- to make this gracious host and willing intermediary appear like a pit stop in this laborious process.