Go figure. It’s Iran whose economy has been crippled by sanctions. It’s Iran that is isolated and nearly alone in the world. It’s Iran that’s literally under the gun to make a deal as, theoretically, the deal would virtually guarantee the US — and probably Israel — would forgo an attack.
Then why in the name of all that is good and holy is it the US that’s desperate to make a deal?
World powers are pressing Iran to stop stonewalling a U.N. atomic bomb investigation as part of a wider nuclear accord, but look likely to stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran to avoid killing an historic deal.
Officially, the United States and its Western allies say it is vital that Iran fully cooperate with a U.N. nuclear agency investigation if it wants a diplomatic settlement that would end the sanctions severely hurting its oil-based economy.
The six powers face a delicate balancing act at talks in Vienna, due to end by Monday; Israel and hawkish U.S. lawmakers – wary of any rapprochement with old foe Iran – are likely to pounce on a deal if they believe it is too soft on Tehran.
A senior U.S. official stressed that the powers had not changed their position on Iran’s past activities during this week’s talks: “We’ve always said that any agreement must resolve the issue to our satisfaction. That has not changed.”
Privately, however, some officials acknowledge that Iran may never be prepared to admit to what they believe it was guilty of: covertly working in the past to develop the ability to build a nuclear-armed missile – something it has always denied.
A senior Western official said the six would try to “be creative” in finding a formula to satisfy those who want Iran to come clean about any atomic bomb research and those who say this is simply unrealistic.
What’s the point of inking a nuclear deal with Iran if it doesn’t guarantee their enrichment program won’t be used to build a nuclear weapon? Isn’t that the the major reason for these cockamamie negotiations in the first place?
The IAEA issued a report in 2011 with intelligence information indicating concerted activities until about a decade ago that could be relevant for developing nuclear bombs. It said some of these might be continuing.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano this week said Iran had again failed to provide the explanations needed for the IAEA inquiry, which has made scant headway in months.
Iran for its part has said these “possible military dimensions” (PMD) are an issue it will not budge on. “PMD is out of the question. It cannot be discussed,” an Iranian official said.
Another Western official said many inside the IAEA and Western governments felt uneasy about compromising on the issue, but added: “I believe the PMD issue is not a deal-breaker, even though it probably should be.”
Just so we have this straight…
Most western governments believe that Iran should come clean about any military dimensions to its nuclear program (that includes work on ballistic missiles). Those same people believe Iran’s failure to be forthcoming should be a deal breaker.
But the desire for a deal — any deal — is so strong, Iran’s secrecy about its nuclear bomb program will be overlooked in order to make history.
If a deal is signed, there will be great fanfare with President Obama perhaps traveling to Tehran to sign the document. We will be told it’s “historic.” We will be told it’s a great step forward. We will praise Iran’s “moderate” new government.
And in a few years when it becomes obvious that Iran has a nuclear weapon, these same people will throw their hands in the air and claim it wasn’t their fault.