It’s that time again, another P5+1 meeting in Almaty. Truth is, recent media coverage of anything but has been much more enriching. Worth a look-see.
First off: AP’s George Jahn interview with IAEA head Amano got totally buried in the back pages (ok, back of PC…) – how did that happen?
From the interview:
“We do not know for sure, but we have information indicating that Iran was engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices in the past and now,” he told The Associated Press in what appeared to be his most specific assertion that such activities are continuing into the present.
Just to be on the safe side, Jahn includes a response by the anti-Agency lobby – who would have believed there could be such a thing? – and finds our favorite scientist/propagandist Yousaf Butt. According to Butt, Tehran “should be presented with any such evidence so it can respond to it.” Wow.
In a separate overview leading up to the meeting, Jahn opines:
“Even an agreement to keep talking would give both sides short-term gains.
It would leave the international community with some breathing space in its efforts to stem Iran’s nuclear advance. For Tehran, continued negotiations are insurance that neither Israel nor the United States will feel the need to act on threats of action.”
Or it could provide Iran with more time to advance, fairly unscathed, toward the bomb….
Among the fortune tellers, this piece by former Administration official Gary Sick caught our eye. Placing the onus on the P5+1 in general and President Obama in particular, he states:
“If the international community is willing to accept an Iran that, like Japan or dozens of other countries, has the technical capability to produce a nuclear weapon, it would almost certainly be possible to negotiate a settlement of the nuclear issue. “
Huh? Iran – like Japan? We talking here about the same country that’s played cat-and-mouse with the international community for the past decade?
If you found that depressing, a word of caution: it gets worse. This new Carnegie Endowment report, which aroused quite a bit of media attention (unlike the Amano interview…), conveys an unmistakable message to Almaty 2 negotiators: forget it, the ballgame’s essentially over. Sample determinations:
- Economic pressure or military force cannot “end” Iran’s nuclear program. It is entangled with too much pride—however misguided—and sunk costs simply to be abandoned.
- The nuclear issue will never be fully resolved absent a broader political settlement. The only sustainable solution for assuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains purely peaceful is a mutually agreeable diplomatic solution. Given that political reconciliation is unlikely, the goal should be détente.
Like with Gorbachev…
And then there’s this new Atlantic Council report just out – perhaps we can beat the media to the punch with this, from its conclusion:
The United States, as the world’s strongest military and economic power, should make a more concerted effort to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, while lessening the chances for war through reinvigorated diplomacy that offers Iran a realistic and face-saving way out of the nuclear standoff.
In the end, however, real progress can only be achieved if the Iranian government is genuinely willing to live up to its international obligations and move away from nuclear weapons ambitions. The peace, prosperity, and security of the region and wider world could well depend on it.
We would argue with the face-saving bit, but on the whole reasonable. Let’s see what Iran brings to Almaty 2.