With the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers being put on the back burner for the time being, there’s plenty of time for reflection on where they are headed – and what exactly the West hopes to gain from making concessions to Iran.
One such reflection, by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton, appeared this week on Newsweek. Shelton, a US defense old-timer, seemed flummoxed at the international community’s stance on Tehran, which has rewarded “deceit and moral failure” with sanctions relief and even the negotiations themselves:
The current talks on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, known as P5+1, and the broader international community must realize that this is not only the same regime that repeatedly lied about its nuclear program but also one that leads the world in human rights abuses and remains the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Warning of the dangers of “turning a blind eye” to now-President Hassan Rouhani’s boastful past admissions on deceiving the international community, Shelton called for a policy of “yes to negotiations but no to unearned concessions” rather than one of increased rewards for short-term good behavior.
Over at The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin had the same idea, blasting the Obama administration for believing that “three and a half months from now Iran, with a little more cash in its coffers and months more of research on advanced centrifuges … will decide, hey, come to think of it, it should dismantle all of its centrifuges.”
It’s “preposterous” of the West to expect that result, she said, without generating additional leverage.
Interestingly enough, the Tehran Times reposted Rubin’s op-ed, originally published under the title “Congress can change the Iran equation,” under the title “Iran playing a winning hand in nuclear talks” – which only serves to prove Rubin’s point that what the West sees as a negotiating table, Iran sees as a winning hand.