Delusional on Iranian Diplomacy
by Joel Himelfarb • Aug 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns argues that to resolve the conflict over Iran's nuclear program, the winner of November's presidential election needs "to create a direct channel between Washington and Tehran and begin an extended one-on-one negotiation with all issues on the table."
In an op-ed published by the Boston Globe (republished by the Atlantic Council of the United States) Burns, the director of the Aspen Strategy Group writes that because multilateral efforts to stop Iranian nukes have failed, Washington needs to work toward "compromise."
"The United States, not Israel, must lead on Iran during the next year," according to Burns. "It is not in America's interest to remain hostage to Prime Minister Netanyahu's increasingly swift timetable for action. We need the freedom to explore negotiations with Iran on our own slower timeline before we consider force."
Now, two Israeli security analysts; Ephraim Asculai, senior research associate at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, and Emily B. Landau, director of INSS' Arms Control program, make a strong case that Burns is ignoring the crux of the problem. Iran has no intention of negotiating an end to its atomic- weapons programs, Asculai and Landau write in The Times of Israel. Over the past decade, a series of diplomatic initiatives with Iran "have met with failure. Indeed, [President] Obama came into office with his hand outstretched to all US adversaries, and got a slap in return from Iran. The international community is currently at the end of a very long process in which not only has diplomacy been attempted over and over - in different formats, and with different states taking the lead – but it is indeed the only strategy that has been attempted so far."
"Iran is not interested in a nuclear deal because it would mean giving up its long-held goal of attaining a military nuclear capability – a goal that it is close to achieving, and for which it has paid a heavy price," they add.