VN says the Iranian people as a whole would like better relations with the world community, but the Iranian government is much more reticent and opening the country too quickly would undo its political control over the country. (Does it matter then if Iran takes a harder line?) Well every government is constrained by what its people want of it. but at this point, Iran's government talks up its nationalism to foment such sentiments in its population. Even rap artists are singing war raps, for example. (The centerpiece of the current diplomacy is a package from six countries presented by the EU's diplomacy chief. What's in it?) There have been some leaks about what's in it and the EU minister may have offered to the Iranians not to suspend uranium enrichment all together but to cap the building of centrifuges at 3,000 for at least a six week period and in response the EU may cap some of its sanctions. It would be a good will kind of gesture, it's essentially just to keep the door open and the Iranians have indicated they make accept it. this agreement favors Iran because Iran needs to do just enough to create doubt in the international public about whether it's appropriate to go to the next level. (Can diplomacy work given the amount of skepticism on both sides?) I don't think this is the right time with elections coming up in the US and a lameduck Bush administration until then. The Bush administration just wants the end product anyway. (Since Israel is worried about being in the sights of Iran, is it possible that the Israeli government could be using a backchannel from their talks with Hamas and Syria?) It may be possible but right now the Israelis are engaging the Arabs in order to create a pro-war Arab alliance against Iran. And Iran's anti-Israeli rhetoric is directed against that, and Iran is also trying to woo other Arab governments against Israel.