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Iran Now Has Time and Validation - By Alan Warms

Interesting analysis of the latest U.S. move with regards to Iran in Captain's Quarters last night. Captain Ed concludes with this paragraph:

I'm not sure that this offer will ever get accepted. It looks more like a final move to show that we would present as much flexibility as possible without giving up on the key goal of stopping Iranian uranium enrichment. In that sense, the offer is brilliant. If Iran accepts it outright along with a verification regime that ensures their compliance, it still gives us a trade-off that will put Iranian nuclear development off for enough time to hopefully see a more rational government replace the mullahcracy. Bush has positioned the US perfectly to either accept this diplomatic solution or to pursue tougher options with little difficulty.

I don't agree. For the last 26 years the United States has refused to recognize the Iranian Government for a variety of very good reasons. More recently, throughout the 90s and today, we have Iran's control of Hezbollah; the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; and more recently their statements on Israel, where they take the usual Arab position of non-recognition one step further by proactively discussing ways to "fix the problem." So we have a rogue state that has done absolutely nothing in the past 25 years or the past 2 years to deserve a change in our posture, most recently of course the breaking of the seals of the IAEA.

Our policy has been that we will not negotiate alone, and we will not make concessions without adherence to already existing international law. By breaking this policy, in the absence of any move on Iran's part, we have unfortunately accomplished several things, none of which serve the U.S.'s interest.

First, we've validated Ahmadinejad's entire negotiating position and stature within Iran. He's gotten the Great Satan to "bend to its knees" and to provide him and his country what he wants. More important than any substance of our concession, however, is that we have shored him up within Iran and the fact that we had to deal with them directly at all. Second, and this is where I really disagree with Captain Ed, I have no doubt about Iran's aims: they want nuclear weapons, period. Therefore, Iran will do everything they can to continue to develop nuclear weapons while preventing sanctions. And this concession has bought them another 12-18 months for them to continue down that path, before the next bump in the road, a la the Agreed Framework with North Korea.

If I believed for a second that Iran really just wanted to develop nuclear power, then perhaps it was a good move. But it is exceedingly obvious that is not the case. What Iran needs is time. And we have just delivered it to them, while shoring up an evil regime. As I said in my post yesterday, we need to get tough, and not give Iran the two things they crave most: legitimacy and time. We have failed in that regard.

Have we made the Security Council happy? Sure. Are we now perceived as less "unilateral?' Undoubtedly. But as we know from the run up to the Iraq war, even after Resolution 1441 and all the machinations around it, when the time comes to enforce sanctions on Iran, the criticism from the left will be no less harsh as a result of making the wrong move.