Night Watch

Pakistan: A Pakistani court has granted bail to former president Pervez Musharraf in connection with the 2007 security operation to remove militants from Islamabad's Red Mosque. The court approved bail on condition that Musharraf pay a bond of $2,000.

With this ruling Musharraf now has been granted bail in all the cases against him, which means he can be released from house arrest and move freely in Pakistan. He cannot leave the country because his name has been placed on a government exit control list.

Speaking outside the court, Musharraf's attorney said Musharraf had no intention of leaving Pakistan. He also will keep armed guards in place because he has received many death threats.

Comment: The Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Sharif government still would like to try him for constitutional crimes but no cases are being processed. The NightWatch hypothesis for the past two years has been that Musharraf would never go to trial, mainly because of Army influence. He may yet jump bail. The amounts are so small they almost invite it.

Iran: President Hassan Ruhani is not "optimistic" about ongoing nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 countries, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday. (Note: P5 refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - US, Russia, China, UK, France. Plus 1 refers to Germany.)

"The government is not optimistic about the Westerners and the current negotiations," Ruhani said. "But it does not mean that we should not have hope for removing the problems," referring to international sanctions and disagreements about the nature of Iran's nuclear program.

A new round of talks between Iranian negotiators and representatives from the P5+1 countries is scheduled to occur in Geneva on 7 and 8 November.

On Sunday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated his support for Iran's nuclear talks, but also said he was not optimistic. "No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers….I am not optimistic about the negotiations but, with the grace of God, we will not suffer losses either."

Comment: The tone of the latest statements is less optimistic than before. Moreover, the apparent gap in public positions between President Ruhani and Supreme Leader Khamenei is gone. A quick review of Ruhani's public service and substantive positions reinforces the judgment that there never were any differences in the Iranian leadership over the nuclear program.

Night Watch

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