Ahmadinejad adds fuel to Israel debate over Iran nuclear ambitions
Ahmadinejad last night rejected as US forgeries documents reported to detail Iran nuclear plans. Observers say the leak was intended to put pressure on Iran ahead of Obama’s end-of-year deadline for a negotiated solution.
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Landau says Israel is concerned that despite what seems like tougher talk on the part of the Obama administration, there won't be actions to back it up, in part due to differences of opinion across the international community. Russia and China, permanent members of the UN Security Council, differ substantially from European leaders and the US.Skip to next paragraph
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“Even though this picture is emerging in such a clear way, we don’t see the determination to deter Iran from moving forward,” says Landau, who would like to see strong signals from Washington that the military option and US sanctions separate from any approved by the UN Security Council are realistic options. “The whole international dynamic right now is giving Iran the message that the international community is not united, and so they’re not up against a very tough response.”
Farideh: Obama's firm deadline was a mistake, given Iran's domestic politics
On Sunday, Obama advisor David Axelrod implied that US patience with Iran was running out after Tehran failed to embrace an Oct. 1 deal to ship enriched uranium out of the country for further processing. The deal, to which Iran agreed in principle, would have assuaged international concerns over Iran developing a stockpile of low-enriched uranium that could have been further enriched to make a nuclear bomb, while still allowing Iran to continue with its civilian nuclear program.
“Listen, nobody has any illusions about what the intent of the Iranian government is,” Mr. Axelrod said on ABC’s This Week. “And we’ve given them an opportunity to prove otherwise by allowing them to ship their nuclear material out to be reprocessed for peaceful use. And they have passed on that deal so far. And the international community is going to have to deal with that if they don’t change their minds.” Iran also refused to stop work on its newly declared enrichment facility near Qom, and said it would build ten new enrichment facilities.
“Plainly, there are going to be consequences if they don’t turn around,” Axelrod said. Obama said he would give his Iran policy review until the end of the year, indicating a Dec. 31 deadline.
But what the Obama administration didn’t take into account when trying to push through a deal in Vienna was the domestic Iranian political picture, says Dr. Farhi at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
“The way the negotiations occurred over the transfer deal was that Obama immediately moved into threatening, with deadlines and redlines, more or less the way Bush used to do,” says Farhi, a political science professor who has taught in both the US and Iran. “Even the most hard-line sectors were ready to engage in a deal. But if you do it this way, you make it almost impossible for the government to push for that deal, given its domestic dynamics. Americans approach Iran as if it has no domestic politics. But ultimately, the way the international community approached the deal made it impossible to sell it.