Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obama to take Roger Cohen's advice?

The New York Times reports that in yet another display of weakness, the Obama administration is preparing to open negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program without first insisting that the mullahcracy cease enriching uranium.
The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions.

The proposals, exchanged in confidential strategy sessions with European allies, would press Tehran to open up its nuclear program gradually to wide-ranging inspection. But the proposals would also allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks. That would be a sharp break from the approach taken by the Bush administration, which had demanded that Iran halt its enrichment activities, at least briefly to initiate negotiations.

The proposals under consideration would go somewhat beyond President Obama’s promise, during the presidential campaign, to open negotiations with Iran “without preconditions.” Officials involved in the discussion said they were being fashioned to draw Iran into nuclear talks that it had so far shunned.


Administration officials declined to discuss details of their confidential deliberations, but said that any new American policy would ultimately require Iran to cease enrichment, as demanded by several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Our goal remains exactly what it has been in the U.N. resolutions: suspension,” one senior administration official said. Another official cautioned that “we are still at the brainstorming level” and said the terms of an opening proposal to Iran were still being debated.

If the United States and its allies allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for a number of months, or longer, the approach is bound to meet objections, from both conservatives in the United States and from the new Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Read the whole thing.

This approach may save Iran's 'pride' (as the author argues), but it does so by giving Ahmadinejad exactly what he wants: time to complete the development of a nuclear weapon. This is simply madness, and I cannot believe that Netanyahu-Lieberman government will sit idly by and give it a chance to happen unless the 'interim period' is an extremely short-term (say 3 months) face-saving measure and the US promises to back (or at least not interfere with) Israeli action once the 'interim period' is over unless negotiations have yielded results.

But I doubt Iran would go along with those kinds of conditions for an 'interim period.' And I doubt they will enter into 'negotiations' without a pre-determined outcome in their favor (just like the 'Palestinians').

Can you imagine Obama spending the next six months negotiating over how long the 'interim period' should be? For those of you who are old enough, does this remind you of the negotiations over the shape of the table that preceded the Vietnam negotiations in the '60's? We all know where that ended up....

What could go wrong?


JPost reports that, unsurprisingly, the US is unwilling to put a deadline on 'negotiations.' If the 'interim period' lasts as long as the negotiations (which is not a big jump to infer), it would likely mean that Iran has one or more nuclear weapons before the 'negotiations' are completed.
However, Shoval said, the feeling in the Netanyahu camp was that it was important for there to be a definite time limit, otherwise the Iranians would continue with their nuclear program, even as the talks continued.

Shoval said that while Israel was in favor of a short period, something along the line of two months, there were voices in the US advocating more time.

It would be a mistake if the talks were postponed until after June's elections in Iran, and then until a new government there was formed, because that would merely buy the Iranians that much more time, Shoval said.

Late last month senior members of Congress wrote US President Barack Obama urging that he adopt a deadline for engagement with Iran, and that he apply strong sanctions if the talks failed.

The lawmakers, who included House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-California), wrote that "engagement must be serious and credible, but it cannot be open-ended."

"We cannot allow Iran to use diplomatic discussions as a cover for continuing to work on its nuclear program. Iran must verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment program within at most a few months of the initiation of discussions," the letter stressed.

Berman, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post in December, said the negotiations with the Iranians should last somewhere between eight to 12 weeks. [Note that this deadline actually coincides with Netanyahu's deadline. CiJ].

But US State Department officials are refusing to put a deadline on US attempts to negotiate, with one official telling the Post simply that "we are pursuing direct diplomacy at the moment."

The official added that "it remains a two-track approach," with sanctions being the second track, but that "we are focused on the engagement track for now."
What could possibly go wrong?


At 4:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

What could go wrong? Well without the threat of the stick, Iran has no incentive to negotiate seriously. If there is no real deadline, all the mullahs have to do is do what they've done in talks with Europe, that is to string them along until the bomb is a fait accompli. Israel doesn't object to talks that lead to the nuclear disarmament of Iran. It does however, object to talks that go nowhere. If and when it becomes clear the new talks aren't producing results, then Israel will act.

Regardless of what Roger Cohen thinks.

At 1:53 AM, Blogger Iron Chef Kosher! said...

Once again (anyone else remember Osirak?) Israel will do the world's dirty work for them, & then be spit upon as her reward.


Post a Comment

<< Home