The international focus on the collapse of Israeli/Palestinian negotiations and Israel’s ongoing Operation Protective Edge seems to have diverted attention from concern over the extraordinarily important issue of Iran’s march toward becoming a nuclear power.
Indeed, in recent weeks there has been scant reporting on the negotiations in Vienna between Iran and the U.S. and five other world powers to agree on limits on Iran’s nuclear program. Yet there are few problems that carry as much significance for future international stability. Unfortunately, however, Iran continues to hoodwink the world community.
July 20 is the deadline that was set early this year for an interim agreement on limiting the Iranian nuclear effort. It will be recalled that the talks followed President Obama’s stated desire to give diplomacy another chance to address the problem – which he characterized at the time as urgent – and his statement that possible military action was not off the table should the negotiations fail.
Unfortunately, after six months of talks the chief Iranian negotiator is still making fundamental demands to minimize restrictions on Iranian nuclear production and is rejecting outright the Western notion of a rollback. Just as important, the Obama administration seems to have lost its sense of urgency.
Despite the July 20deadline, an extension seems probable. Secretary of State John Kerry now says he is “returning to Washington…to consult with President Obama and leaders of Congress over coming days about the prospects for a comprehensive agreement as well as a path forward if we do not achieve one by the 20th of July, including whether or not more time is warranted.”
Many of us thought Mr. Obama’s diplomacy strategy was simply a device to dodge a decision that force was necessary to ensure the rogue state of Iran would not get its hands on nuclear weapons and thereby pose an existential threat to world peace.
Letting deadlines casually pass does nothing to reassure. Can anyone say with any certainty that we won’t wake up one morning in the not too distant future to a declaration by Iran that it has the bomb – and then what?