What Buying a Used Car Taught Me About Negotiation

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I don't quite get the neoconservative panic attacks over Iran's alleged "double-cross" during yesterday's negotiations in Vienna. As David Sanger reported, these were mostly blusterous and veiled threats of the things Iran could do should they find Western offers unacceptable.

And as one participant in the negotiations put it:

“This was opening-day posturing,” one participant in Monday’s talks said, declining to be identified because all sides had agreed not to discuss the specifics of the negotiations. “The Iranians are experienced at this, and you have to expect that their opening position isn’t going to be the one you want to hear.”

Precisely. Much in the way a U.S.-Israeli joint defense exercise scheduled oh-so-coincidentally for today is posturing.

This makes plenty of sense to me, and while the actual results remain to be seen, I can't help but wonder if those screaming of Iranian betrayal have ever had to haggle or negotiate for anything; like a used car, or a raise at work. I have, and I've always been told that you never walk in agreeing to the first offer or asking price if you think you can get something more to your liking. The last thing the Iranians can afford to do now is walk into negotiations with zero bargaining leverage. They understand that this potential uranium deal is as much a chip for them as it is a coup for the West; should it be agreed upon, that is.

What should the U.S. have done, stormed out of a two-day negotiation in the first hour because they didn't like what they had heard? That seems like a bad method for buying a used car, and an ever worse way to negotiate with one's enemies.

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