Ahmadinejad agrees to negotiate
It's too early to uncork any Champagne, but, recent news at home and abroad could bring about a timely decline in crude oil prices and gasoline prices.

Bloomberg is reporting that the U.S. and its European allies will press Iran for tangible action to curb its nuclear program when talks restart this week after a 15-month hiatus.

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany are scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 14 in Istanbul.

“We hope that this first round will produce a conducive environment for concrete progress. We are of course aiming at a sustained process,” European Union spokesman Michael Mann said.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a statement released by its state-run Mehr news agency that a second round of talks will be held in Baghdad, the date of which will be announced at the end of the Istanbul meeting.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi today said he won’t accept any pre-conditions before talks begin. His comment came after the New York Times, citing unidentified diplomats, reported that the allies plan to demand the immediate closure of a nuclear enrichment facility in central Iran.

In a joint statement March 8, the U.S. and its five partners in the talks -- China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. -- said they wanted sustained discussions with Iran and for the Persian Gulf nation to allow UN inspectors into its secret Parchin military installation.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the six powers should demand that Iran stop enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and give up any material already processed to that level. Iran also must shut down the Fordo underground enrichment facility near Qom, Barak said in an interview broadcast yesterday on CNN.

Bringing Iran back to the bargaining table is significant progress for the Middle East, for Israel and for the U.S. and is undoubtedly one of the key reasons why crude oil prices are moving lower.

In addition to the discussions overseas, Americans can be encouraged by positive numbers on refinery outputs and crude oil stocks... Speculators reduced their bets on oil by the most in more than three months as U.S. output grew to the highest level since 1999, boosting stockpiles, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitments of Traders report on April 6, and the Dept. of Energy's weekly report.

Overall, it's welcome news from Istanbul to Indiana...let's hope the discussions are fruitful.