In yesterday’s Washington Post, columnist David Ignatius helpfully breaks down the Iranian proposal from last month’s direct talks between representatives from Tehran and the so-called P5+1 – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the U.S., U.K., France, China, and Russia) plus Germany. Ignatius goes over a 48-page PowerPoint presentation given by the Iranians. It’s actually pretty interesting stuff.
What’s amazing is that Ignatius seems to treat the presentation as a credible offer from the Iranians, when history should have long since proven otherwise. It’s absolutely remarkable that bright people still believe anything Iran has to say, or that their proposals are anything but a play for more and more time. They have consistently – for years and years – gamed the international community by promising never-ending talks and discussions and negotiations. They are well aware that the international community – and the democratic West in particular – has no political will for actual confrontation and, thus, they can dangle the perpetual hope of a diplomatic solution; all while enriching uranium at full speed.
So let’s say it again: It is long past time that the world gets serious about the Iranian nuclear weapons program. President Obama is to be congratulated for sending additional military muscle to the Persian Gulf and, hopefully, it will be taken by Iran as a sign that the United States isn’t kidding around. But the President now must impose the crippling economic sanctions he already has at his disposal, to force Iran to choose between its livelihood and its nukes. There’s no reason the P5+1 shouldn’t keep talking to Iran – but negotiations should continue with Iran’s economy in tatters.