Amid intensifying diplomacy in the Iranian nuclear crisis, there are doubts about the capacity of the international community to influence Tehran's actions. The transfer of the issue to the UN Security Council may not offer much hope for defusing the situation, some experts say.
The IAEA debates whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program. President Bush says the world must not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country will never give up its right to nuclear energy.
The five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council have agreed to refer the case of Iran's nuclear program to the Council. Yet experts see little likelihood of this apparent breakthrough leading to real, sustained pressure on Iran to make its nuclear activities more transparent.
Key states are coalescing behind the Russian proposal to enrich uranium fuel from Iran as the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to meet in a special session on the issue. But Iran's response has been mixed and support for coercive measures against Tehran is uncertain.
Iran's nuclear gambit rumbles on, with an emergency meeting of the IAEA now scheduled for February 2. Efforts by Tehran to avoid referral to the UN Security Council are being rebuffed by Europe and the United States, who meanwhile are seeking to assure a nervous Russia that no confrontation is imminent.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht Weekly Standard
The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.
In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.
The Saudi establishment’s misconceptions about the relationship between their Shiite community and Iran is proving dangerous, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Denigrating Shias as heretics will only inflame their grievances and radicalize the political culture of the region.
Remember the Iran nuclear deal, source of so much anxiety just one month ago? While much of the world watched in horror at the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, Iran began dismantling its centrifuges. But short-term compliance with the deal isn’t as important as what happens when it expires in 10 years.
At this point in time, given the current Iranian leadership, the state of Iranian public opinion, and Iranian economic conditions, relying on unilateral economic leverage to obtain a better deal is an illusion, argues Miles Kahler. More likely it would drive Iran further in the direction of North Korea—an unrestrained nuclear program and an economically isolated, unreformed regime.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains that the Obama administration’s hopes of rapprochement and a nuclear agreement with Iran led it to overlook the consequences of empowering the regime in Teheran at the expense of the Iranian people.
Reading the 150-page agreement with Iran takes less time than one might have anticipated, because it isn’t really a 150-page agreement. Why not? Because roughly 60 pages consist of lists — lists of all the sanctioned entities that will henceforth have sanctions lifted.
The numerous concessions to Iran in the framework agreement means that the Islamic Republic should be able to manufacture bombs on short notice after the sunset clause expires, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Nevertheless, the Iran deal is not beyond repair and the United States needs to address the deficiencies of the accord in the coming months to close all remaining holes.
In article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses the dangers that may result when diplomats become more concerned about their personal relationships with charming colleagues than about the nature of the regimes those colleagues (such as Iranian foreign minister Zarif) represent.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams discusses Iran’s transformation into a "front line state" against Israel. This turn of events alarms Israelis and Arabs alike, but not nearly so much as another fact: that Iran's expansionism and military adventurism are being met with approval from the Obama administration.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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