Here are some recent news items and editorial comments:
- Nuclear Inspection Visit to Iran Deemed a FailureBy Robert F. Worth and David E. Sanger (NY Times): This assessment came as Iran’s supreme leader lashed out at the United States, vowing to retaliate against oil sanctions and threats of military action. The IAEA delegation, returned from its three-day visit to Iran, is reported as dissatisfied with the level of access and cooperation afforded them: “…. diplomats briefed on the trip said that Iranian officials had not answered the questions raised in an incriminating report issued by the agency in November… [that] cited documents and evidence of experiments with detonators that strongly suggested Iran might have worked on technologies to turn its nuclear fuel into working weapons and warheads. Tehran … has refused to engage in substantive discussions or inspections.”
- Trading Threats With Iran(NY Times editorial): Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are real and dangerous, but a military attack would backfire. “Israel must defend itself. This country’s alliance with Israel is crucial. We hope for everyone’s sake that Israel’s leaders weigh all of the consequences before they act. A military attack would almost certainly make things worse. Tough sanctions and a united diplomatic front are the best chance for crippling Iran’s nuclear program”
- Washington Post columnist David Ignatius warned on the looming threat of an Israeli attack, while its editorial page voiced the same line as the NY Times, for sanctions and diplomacy rather than an attack. Click to watch How Will Iran’s Threats Affect U.S.-Israeli Ties?, the discussion last week on the PBS Newshour between David Ignatius and David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Ethan Bronner writes on how the loud current debate in Israel on Iran may be contrary to traditional Israel lore that public debate precludes military action. He concludes with reference to an Israeli authority who sees this public cacophony as undercutting the important role of diplomacy in defusing the situation: “In Israel, Talk of Attacking Iran Transcends Idle Chatter.”
- In a NY Times op-ed, veteran US diplomats William H. Luers and Thomas R. Pickering discuss how a diplomatic deal with Iran might work, including mutual guarantees that the US will not work to overthrow the Islamic Republic and that: “Once international agencies had full access to Iran’s nuclear program, there could be a progressive reduction of the Security Council’s sanctions that are now in effect. Iran would agree to cease making threats against Israel, and the United States would agree to support efforts toward achieving a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”