The Corner

The Nuclear Train Has No Brakes

While Obama promises persistence with the Islamic Republic, Iranian authorities are promising persistence of their own, with an outright refusal to discuss their adherence to their NPT safe-guards commitments or the U.N. Security Council Resolutions that resulted from insufficient Iranian cooperation with the IAEA. As Ahmadinejad said this weekend:

As I have declared before, the nuclear train of Iran has neither brakes nor reverse gears. Again today I tell the people of the entire world that the train of progress in Iran has neither brakes nor reverse gear.

There’s nothing wrong with diplomacy, but there comes a time when the Obama administration should recognize its failure. And while Obama promises persistence, his Iran team — Holbrooke, Ross, Burns, Clinton, or whomever has the portfolio on any particular day — should at least define when they recognize it’s not going to work at which point they need to either acknowledge they’re fine with the Islamic Republic becoming nuclear-weapons capable, or outline a broader array of coercive measures to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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