“Open hand” is the name of President Obama’s diplomatic strategy in Iran. The administration’s current course of action for Iran is “open negotiations” which offer Iran better relations with the United States if Iran will enter arms control talks. It is a game of give and take. As Secretary Clinton stated in her address to the Foreign Policy Council, the U.S. preferred policy approach is to “lead with diplomacy, even in the cases of our adversaries or nations with whom we disagree.” However, as the administration continues to extend its hand to Iran, Iran continues to ignore or shun it.
The Iranian leadership consistently shows no positive response to U.S. overtures. This is highlighted by the regime’s actions since the contested elections. While Iran recently “released 140 protesters” from prison, many came out with gruesome stories and wounds testifying to their mistreatment.
As the election unrest continues, Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile facilities continue their development unabated. Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons has ceased neither for the election or the next overture of the Obama administration. Iran continues to develop its nuclear program. In a July 16 speech, President Ahmadinejad declared Iran a power that “will bring down global arrogance.” While the Obama administration continues to offer negotiations, Israel watches with growing unease.
The more progress Iran makes in developing nuclear and conventional weapons capabilities, the more the proverbial sands run out in the hourglass for Israel. The longer the U.S. delays in forcefully addressing Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, the less confident Israel becomes in U.S. security assurances. Secretary Clinton offered to extend a “defense umbrella” to Israel as a means of protection. However, this will not prevent a nuclear attack on Israel. Secretary Clinton’s offer simply “concedes” that Iran continues to head down a path that existentially threatens. In fact, it is the first acknowledgment of the failure of President Obama’s diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran. Congress has also tacitly acknowledged the failure of the Obama administration’s diplomacy. On July 30, the Senate voted to “penalize Iran gasoline suppliers,” signaling their lack of confidence in Obama’s “open hand” diplomacy.
The administration’s “open hand” policy offers no credible or lasting solution to the Iranian regime’s current trajectory and certainly offers no penalties for non-compliance with UN resolutions. On the contrary, it tacitly grants Iran the privilege to develop their nuclear capabilities without concern. It also ignores the nation’s human rights violations and fails to support the Iranian people in a historic moment within Iran. Fundamentally, it extends “negotiations and validity” to a regime that holds no common values with the United States and has no desire to negotiate. Obama’s diplomatic game bends U.S. standards for Iran, increasing the security risk for the U.S. and the Middle East.