OPINION: Negotiating with Iran

Sanctions won’t stop Tehran

Suppose that the Bush administration abandons its campaign for economic sanctions, tones down talk of war and opens direct negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. Suppose also that it drops its insistence on the suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for dialogue.

Would Iran accept the terms for denuclearization accepted by North Korea in the direct negotiations that led to the Feb. 13 agreement with Pyongyang and that are now being implemented in fits and starts: a no-attack pledge, normalized economic and diplomatic relations, economic aid, and removal from the U.S. list of terrorist states?

Based on a week of high-level discussions in Tehran recently and on previous visits during earlier stages of the nuclear program, my assessment is that Iran would demand much tougher terms, including a freeze of Israel’s Dimona reactor and a ban on the U.S. use of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf. [complete article]

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