The Realist Prism: Finding a Workable Iran Policy

The Realist Prism: Finding a Workable Iran Policy

"Iran engagement" is beginning to take on the attributes of kabuki theater, with all of the major participants engaging in pre-determined, stylized dance steps. The latest case in point is the announcement earlier this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Tehran is now open to some form of the scheme proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency last October, by which Iran would export its low-enriched uranium to France and Russia to be turned into fuel rods for its research reactor. As Howard LaFranchi reported, this "was received favorably by Russia, and it prompted Chinese officials to call for further negotiations with Tehran."

All of a sudden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates' confidence that Iran could soon face "severe sanctions" imposed in part by the United Nations Security Council -- as he testified earlier this week before the House Armed Services Committee -- must be shaken. After all, if negotiations seem to be working, shouldn't we give diplomacy some more time?

More than a month ago, I observed:

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