[Iran’s] continuing violation of international rules and norms and inability thus far to convince the world community that it is not pursuing the weaponization of nuclear power is of grave concern to all of us. We’re hopeful we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion with respect to Iran that recognizes their sovereignty but also recognizes their responsibilities.President Obama • Speaking on Iran’s nuclear program, which many in the international community believe to be attempting weapons production. The timeline for such a weapon, if Iran is actually or would actually pursue it, is yet two years from completion, as we’ve touched on before. The remarks were made at the G-8 summit (the “Group of Eight,” for the uninitiated) at the Camp David presidential retreat, and were made while Obama stood beside British Prime Minister David Cameron and newly-minted President of France, Francois Hollande. The short-term takeaway from this? Continued economic sanctions, and more tension leading up to next week’s meeting with Iranian officials at a world leader summit in Baghdad. source (via • follow)
» That is, if it’s even developing one. According to Reuters, it’s the consensus among Israel, the US, and European allies that not only is Iran is a long way from developing a nuclear weapon; there’s a good chance it’s not even actively attempting to do so. A communications intercept from 2006 or 2007 revealed Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian officer and physicist, complaining that the country’s leadership had halted its weaponization program. US intelligence ultimately concluded that, while Iran has likely taken steps to allow for the possibility of future warhead construction, it hasn’t had an active nuclear weapons program since 2003. The whole report is very much worth reading; it’s one of the most in-depth, detailed examinations of the subject we’ve ever seen.
We all agree that the international community should demonstrate its commitment to a diplomatic solution by acknowledging Iran’s agreement to meet, by testing its desire to talk and by offering it the opportunity to respond to our legitimate concerns about its nuclear intentions.British Foreign Secretary William Hague • Discussing the decision that a group of six global powers agreed to resume talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear situation — a set of talks that had broken off about a year ago. The talks came as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees Iran as his country’s most dangerous enemy, was in the U.S. to talk to Obama. Israel has seemingly been looking to possibly attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, but Obama has urged the country to continue to let diplomatic mechanisms to do the work. source (via • follow)
Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick.President Barack Obama • Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the day before he is scheduled to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although he was quick to condemn what he believed to be “too much loose talk of war”, President Obama pleased many in attendance when he confirmed he would not support “containment” of a nuclear-armed Iran. When asked about the possibility of military intervention, the President replied, “I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”source (via • follow)
Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food. This would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile, while the Persian people have nothing to eat and may rise up as was the case in Syria, Tunisia and other Arab states.An unnamed Israeli official • Calling for the U.S. to cripple Iran’s economy with harder sanctions, to cause food shortages for the Iranian public as a means to gain diplomatic leverage. The impetus of this thinking came earlier today, when North Korea agreed to halt production of new nuclear weapons in exchange for food aid. While respecting the existential concern Iran’s nuclear prospects pose for Israel, the fact that the U.S. would itself impose a food shortage (unlike North Korea, where state mismanagement and famine were to blame) seems like it would aim the Iranian public’s outrage outward, not inward. The Arab spring had much do with economics, Tunisia’s high unemployment, for example, but a foreign state inducing hunger and starvation, and hoping people will therefore turn against their own government? That seems highly unlikely, as well as morally dubious. source (via • follow)
Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.An AP article suggesting that Israel will keep the U.S. out of the loop if it tries attacking Iran. Well, until now, that is. Good work uncovering this one, Associated Press. Now they just lost deniability. (via @BreakingNews)
It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings. We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano • Discussing failed efforts to visit the Iranian nuclear facility at Parchin. The country effectively blocked IAEA officials over two days. On top of this, efforts to tackle questions regarding the Iranian nuclear effort went unanswered. ”Intensive efforts were made to reach agreement on a document facilitating the clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran’s nuclear program,” the IAEA said in a statement. “Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document.”
I believe there are ways to get weapons to the opposition without direct United States involvement. The Iranians and the Russians are providing Bashar Assad with weapons. People that are being massacred deserve to have the ability to defend themselves. So I am not only not opposed, but I am in favor of weapons being obtained by the opposition.Sen. John McCain • Offering a somewhat hawkish take on the situation in Syria. His buddy, Sen. Lindsey Graham, is totally with him on this point, suggesting we get weapons to Syrian rebels through intermediaries and saying this on the matter: “Breaking Syria apart from Iran could be as important to containing a nuclear Iran as sanctions.” Even considering the worsening situation in the country, is this the right way to go?