President Obama has but two days to reach a nuclear deal with Iran before a year’s worth of negotiations reach an agreed-on close. Holding your breath is a bad idea.
Hope that Obama would strike a bargain that leads to true Iranian disarmament was lost when he agreed the mullahs could have the atomic material and machinery needed to build a bomb, just not enough to build one quickly.
As a result, the President has been dickering over how many uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran can keep spinning, as well as how much enriched uranium Iran can keep on hand.
Although Obama limited the goal to, in theory, preventing Iran from “breaking out” to nuclear weaponry within a year, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif teed up the likely failure of the talks by warning the U.S. and allies against holding to “excessive demands.”
Friday — following increasingly frenzied talks that culminated in Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry making, then cancelling, plans to temporarily step away from the negotiating table — Zarif gave more reason for pessimism.
After his third meeting in 24 hours with Kerry, he pronounced that he had received “no remarkable proposals to take to Tehran.”
Remarked British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond: “We have a long way to go if we are to get to a deal before the deadline.”
Miles and miles.
For decades, Iran has aimed to become the world’s first radical Islamist state equipped with a nuclear weapon.
It began acquiring technology in the 1980s and it long concealed illicit uranium enrichment from the International Atomic Energy Agency. By the time the program came to light, Iran was running a secret nuke facility and had built two more, including one deep enough underground to resist destruction via missiles.
After Iran defiantly refused to cooperate with international nuclear inspections, Congress stepped up economic sanctions — over Obama’s objections.
Eventually, he got with the program. Then, as the mullahs began to see a virtue in talking, the President wrongheadedly eased some of the pain as the price of getting them to negotiate.
Twelve months later, and with only 48 hours to go, the talks have been inconclusive. Meanwhile, the UN’s nuclear watchdog reports that Iran has refused to come clean on military components of its nuke program.
Many analysts predict that Iran’s refusal to move on highly technical details will leave Obama with the options of:
1) okaying a disastrously weak pact to claim a foreign policy triumph, 2) letting Iran continue to diddle the world in extended negotiations, or 3) hammering Iran with exponentially more punitive economic sanctions.
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