Western leaders are reassessing their approach to Iran after recent
disclosures about a secret nuclear facility and new missile tests. How should they address Iran's nuclear ambitions at this week's diplomatic talks in Geneva? How should President Obama approach Iran's leadership?
In today's Sparring Opinions we're comparing two op-eds that discuss these questions.
Scott Ritter, a prominent UN weapons inspector, argues in the Guardian that Iran's disclosure of the facility in Qom should not be met with tough language from Western leaders. Iran's move, he writes, should mark a step toward non-proliferation:
"the emergence of the existence of the Qom enrichment facility could very well mark the initiation of a period of even greater transparency on the part of Iran, leading to its full adoption and implementation of the IAEA additional protocol ... Calls for "crippling" sanctions on Iran by Obama and Brown are certainly not the most productive policy options available to these two world leaders. Both have indicated a desire to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran's action, in declaring the existence of the Qom facility, has created a window of opportunity for doing just that, and should be fully exploited within the framework of IAEA negotiations and inspections, and not more bluster and threats form the leaders of the western world."
Former National Security Council staffers Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, writing in the New York Times, agree that sanctions would be counterproductive, but call for intervention from the Obama Administration and international community that curbs weapons development and serves Iran's needs:
"the administration should seek a strategic realignment with Iran as thoroughgoing as that effected by Nixon with China. This would require Washington to take steps, up front, to assure Tehran that rapprochement would serve Iran’s strategic needs.
On that basis, America and Iran would forge a comprehensive framework for security as well as economic cooperation — something that Washington has never allowed the five-plus-one group to propose. Within that framework, the international community would work with Iran to develop its civil nuclear program, including fuel cycle activities on Iranian soil, in a transparent manner rather than demanding that Tehran prove a negative — that it’s not developing weapons. A cooperative approach would not demonize Iran for political relationships with Hamas and Hezbollah, but would elicit Tehran’s commitment to work toward peaceful resolutions of regional conflicts"
Tell us which of these Sparring Opinions you find most insightful -- and add your reviews to these two stories:
• Keeping Iran honest - The Guardian
• How to press the advantage with Iran - New York Times
-- Derek Hawkins