The Corner

Today’s Questions for the President

Iran continues to pursue nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile technology. Sanctions have done nothing to deter Iran to this point and there’s no evidence that negotiations will persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Indeed, as Michael Rubin has noted, Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani has essentially admitted that Iran’s negotiating strategy is to simply “run out the clock” until the regime achieves nuclear capability. Nonetheless, negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are set to resume in Baghdad on May 23.

Last week at the Rabbinical Assembly’s annual convention, Vice President Biden said, “diplomacy backed by serious, serious sanctions . . . as the president’s clearly stated — on that score, the window is closing in the near term. This cannot go on forever.” 

What evidence do you have that Iran is not simply running out the clock? How long will negotiations continue before you close the window on diplomacy? What would cause you to close the window? What will you do when the window closes?

Last week Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a national coalition government with the opposition Kadima party, a move seen as a precursor to a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. It remains unclear whether an Israeli air strike using GBU-28 bunker busters could destroy the fortified underground Iranian nuclear facility at Fordow. A strike using the U. S. GBU-57 A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) has a greater likelihood of success.

If Israel strikes Iran, will we assist our ally? If so, to what extent? If not, why not?

What preparations, if any, has your administration made in anticipation of the inevitable oil shock resulting from a military strike?


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