The Corner

Bolton: ‘The Real Issue with Iran’

On Wednesday, Iran spurned a U.N.-brokered deal that would have sent its stockpile of low-enriched uranium out of the country. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton tells NRO that if the Obama administration continues with its “near religious faith in negotiations,” then Iran’s nuclear program will continue to be a threat.

“This is a graphic lesson for what is still a relatively new administration. Iran will not be talked out of their nuclear-weapons program,” says Bolton. “If President Obama is capable of learning from his experiences, then he would see that further negotiations with Iran are not going to produce results. This has been obvious for seven years, and Iran’s recent decision is just one more brick in the wall.”

President Obama said in Seoul earlier today that there will be now be “consequences” for Iran. The Associated Press reports that the U.N. Security Council’s permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S. — plus Germany will meet Friday in Brussels to discuss what measures can be taken.

“Our expectation is that over the next several weeks, we will be developing a package of potential steps we could take that will indicate our seriousness to Iran,” said Obama. “I continue to hold out the prospect that they may decide to walk through this door. I hope they do.”

Bolton says that Obama is missing the point. “We need to declare that we’re tired with  negotiations,” says Bolton. “We need to be willing to ratchet up sanctions. But most importantly, we need to understand that there is no way to deal with nuclear weapons without regime change or force. The chances that the Obama administration understands this are not even between slim and zero — there’s simply no chance. They can’t see the reality of the situation.”

“I’ve always though that the (proposed U.N. deal) was a distraction from the real issue,” says Bolton. “The real issue with Iran has always been its uranium enrichment, not where it is shipped. This decision just takes us back to where we were before talks of a deal got started.”

We should expect “very little” to come out of the meeting in Brussels, adds Bolton. “Iran has done what it needed to do. The inspectors did not find centrifuges, so the board of the IAEA is not likely to do anything with incomplete evidence.”