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Obama Outflanked by France on Iran

Posted By James Phillips On April 17, 2009 @ 8:44 am In International | Comments Disabled

In its rush to diplomatically engage Iran [1], the Obama Administration has found itself in the embarrassing position of appearing to be softer than France, which until recently had been a leading advocate of Europe’s “critical engagement” with Iran [1] — a policy which offered Iran [1] lucrative trade deals, but precious little criticism.

The Administration reportedly is considering the unilateral abandonment of a crucial condition embedded in the 2007 diplomatic initiative made by the P5 + 1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) which required Iran [1] to halt its uranium enrichment and other suspicious nuclear activities in exchange for a promise not to impose new U.N. Security Council sanctions. The French government, which has toughened its Iran [1] policy under Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, promptly fired a warning shot across the administration’s bow by insisting yesterday that Iran must suspend “sensitive” nuclear activities during any talks with the P5-1. [2]

France is right. By dropping its demand that Tehran must freeze its uranium enrichment work, the Obama Administration runs the intolerable risk that Iran [1] will engage in endless talks about its ominous nuclear program while pushing ahead to acquire growing stocks of enriched uranium, which subsequently could be enriched further to arm a nuclear weapon. After years of Iranian denial and duplicity on the nuclear front, such a diplomatic concession would be naïve and irresponsible. It would allow Tehran to run out the clock, stave off further sanctions, and eventually present the world with a nuclear fait accompli. And then there would be little to negotiate about.

For more information and policy recommendations on Iran’s nuclear program go to the Iran Briefing Room [1].

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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/04/17/obama-outflanked-by-france-on-iran/

URLs in this post:

[1] Iran: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Middleeast/iranbriefingroom.cfm

[2] Iran must suspend “sensitive” nuclear activities during any talks with the P5-1.: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090415/wl_mideast_afp/irannuclearpoliticsdiplomacyfrance

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