Friday, March 1, 2013

Latest Iran Talks? A Disaster.

The P5+1 has finished its latest meetings with Iran. The topic? Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, instead of emphasizing that the biting sanctions regime will increase until Iran agrees to verifiable inspections, western negotiators chose to do the opposite. They've made a grave mistake. By offering Iran's leadership with rewards for their continued non-compliance, Iran's strategic brinkmanship is being vindicated. Further problematic is the fact that Iran's leaders have won further time to develop their nuclear ambitions. As I noted last week, Iran has played their negotiation game since 2003. They've become extremely adept at it. Sadly, many in the West are deluding themselves by arguing that these concessions offer a peaceful resolution to the crisis. On the contrary however, this weakness (see an EU spokesman ruling out military action) only pushes Israel towards tougher action. Israel believes that they can attack Iran without starting a major war (I'm inclined to agree with this judgement) and every time that the P5+1 diplomatic track takes a detour (as it has this week) Israeli military action becomes more likely rather than less. 

From my perspective, there's a simple strategic truth at stake here. Until the international community is willing to force Iran to the table - by tightening the sanctions regime even further, Iran's leaders will continue to play the waiting game. And ultimately the theocrats will achieve their nuclear ambitions. An outcome that would be disastrous.

On a related note, my thoughts on Hezbollah in Europe.
Photo- Atlantic Council

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