Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

How to handle the Iranian nuclear threat

Posted by sanityinjection on October 20, 2008

As the US gazes increasingly at its navel leading up to the November election, the rest of the world stubbornly continue to exist, despite the mainstream media’s policy of ignoring anything that isn’t part of the Obama campaign’s current talking points.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Iran remains one of the major threats to the US  because of their pursuit of nuclear technology and presumably nuclear weapons.  Multi-party negotiations between Iran and our European allies – the kind the Bush Administration has been roundly criticized for not utilizing elsewhere in the Middle East – have been a total failure, with Iran alternately stalling for time and refusing to cooperate. Pundits argue whether a military option is advisable or whether it would simply destabilize the region as a whole.

The best approach in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue I have seen lately is articulated by George Perkovich, an expert on nuclear nonproliferation with the Carnegie Endowment for World Peace. Perkovich is an expert on nuclear issues in the Middle East and South Asia. He offers a three-step strategy for dealing with Iran that the new President would be wise to adopt:

1) Set a deadline to break off negotiations unless Iran is willing to seriously discuss suspending its nuclear program. Under the current talks, Iran has zero incentive to come to the table because the longer they refuse, the bigger the carrots the international community is offering them, with no sign of support for stronger sanctions by Russia and China.

2) Work on strengthening the participation and enforcement of the existing regime of sanctions, and start planning for increased sanctions in the event that Iran is found to have weaponized their program.

3) Clarify a new “red line” that the international community will take action if Iran crosses: weaponization of the nuclear program or further nonproliferation violations. Insist on agreement that the use of military force will be considered to be authorized if Iran crosses this line. 

These steps are easier said than done. It will be difficult to obtain the necessary agreement of Russia and China to pass meaningful resolutions in the Security Council. But the US must lead on this issue, and that means articulating a strong position even when there is no consensus among the international community.

Full article here:

http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=22115&prog=zgp&proj=znpp

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