Opinion

6 factors that will determine concessions from Iran

Can war with Iran can be avoided? In recent talks with the West in Baghdad, Iran showed some greater flexibility about its nuclear program. But Iran has a history of trickery in the nuclear arena. Whether Tehran will cooperates with Western demands depends on the following six factors.

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2. Iran must know Obama is serious about military force

Iran must understand that the American use of force is highly likely if it does not continue to cooperate. That message needs to come louder and clearer from President Obama. Sure, some in his administration and plenty in Washington have beat the war drums or talked about the possibility of military strikes, but Mr. Obama himself has only made general, occasional statements on the military matter.

There’s a famous Latin saying, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” If you want peace, prepare for war. That’s a bit simplistic but it fits in this case because Iran needs to sense American resolve.

Such resolve is especially critical because Iran sees an American attack as much more dangerous than one by Israel. This is because Israel can only do so much damage, and Iran could benefit from an anti-Israel, Muslim backlash.

Such a strong message from Obama will also make China and Russia more likely to support economic sanctions, because they prefer peace to an American or Israeli attack that could create regional instability, hurt their investments in Iran and the region, increase the US military presence in the Gulf, and generate severe tensions with Washington and the West.

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