Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Why the Rush with Iran?
If you'd like an alternative take on the latest round of Iran nuclear talks, try Flynt Leverett's and Hillary Mann Leverett's corrective in the National Interest. They condemn the rush to impose what they call an artificial deadline on Iran to accept our pre-conditions, even if those are more generously defined. Instead, they put the negotiations in the context of consistent Iranian efforts to use issue-specific cooperation as a way to engage a "comprehensive diplomatic agenda," efforts consistently disappointed by this and previous American administrations. The Leverett's suggest that recent shifts in American posture have created a receptive climate in Iran to once again try to arrive at some sort of grand bargain. But that opportunity will be lost if we once again reduce the negotiating track to a deadline-enforced single-issue track.
There's a danger, in the Leverett's argument, of getting lulled into the kind of longterm, potentially fruitless negotiations that in essence give the Iranians time to proceed with their technological advances in the nuclear fuel cycle. But there's also the chance that by treating the roots, the leaves take care of themselves.
Cross-posted to World Politics Review.