As for talks between the Iranian government and European foreign ministers, Rowhani explains, “The reason for inviting the three European foreign ministers to Tehran and for the Saadabad negotiations was to make Europe oppose the United States so that the issue was not submitted to the Security Council.” By the time the Security Council took up sanctions (which Moscow and Beijing watered down), Tehran had already achieved what it wanted. “The Islamic Republic acted very wisely in my view and did not allow the United States to succeed,” Rowhani said. “It managed to oppose the United States and did not allow the nuclear case to be submitted to the Security Council. . . . This was my objective.”
Time for a Chalice of Poison If there is a silver lining to the IAEA’s report, it is that Iranian intentions are now clear and Tehran’s insincerity has been exposed. The Islamic Republic is an ideological regime in pursuit of a revolutionary goal, one whose attainment presents a price too high for the United States and its regional allies to bear.
Diplomacy has never resolved problems with Iran. While Carter-administration officials bend over backwards to credit their diplomacy for resolving the Iran hostage crisis — after only 444 days — the late Peter Rodman pointed out that Ayatollah Khomeini agreed to negotiate only after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran made the cost of Tehran’s isolation too great to bear.
Iranian forces had driven back and stalemated the Iraqi invaders by 1982. Many Iranians — including even Khomeini, according to recent memoirs — considered negotiating for peace, but harder-line elements in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps insisted on pursuing war until victory. The war continued for six more years, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Finally, Khomeini had had enough and declared a ceasefire. He announced that accepting the terms of the U.N. settlement was like drinking from a chalice of poison, but that he was doing it for the good of the country. Again, the costs of defiance had become too great.
President Obama fancies himself a student of history, so it is important that he not ignore it. Incremental strategies will not influence Iran; only overwhelming pain will convince the supreme leader that the Islamic Republic cannot shoulder the costs of his quest.
— Michael Rubin (@mrubin1971) is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.