Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The lede of David Sanger's article in the New York Times:
"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."Read the whole thing.
One way of looking at this is that by waiting out the Bush administration, Tehran has won on this point -- enrichment can continue and negotiations could start. Another way of looking at it is that Washington understands that Iranian enrichment is going to continue no matter what, so why not concede that point if the policy makers in Washington and Europe believe that the achievable goal is to persuade Tehran to eventually stop enrichment and not go nuclear.
I just can't think of a good reason why Tehran would halt its program voluntarily, regardless of the economic or diplomatic incentives offered by the West. Isn't the nuclear program -- given the cover of it being for peaceful energy -- overwhelmingly popular among the citizens of Iran (from a national prestige perspective), and isn't the credibility of the current regime closely tied to the success of the program?
The U.S. could send to every Mullah a dozen women each, all of whom look like Iranian-American actor Sarah Shahi:
and it still wouldn't do any good. (Please note -- I am not actually suggesting that we treat women like chattel [if anything, I am their chattel], but it is my understanding that there are elements of Iranian society that do treat women in quite an offhand manner).