The New York Times reports: With high-stakes negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program at an impasse, the Obama administration is under mounting pressure to rethink a diplomatic exercise that many argue is simply stringing along the rest of the world.
After two days of fruitless talks in Moscow, negotiators for the United States and other major powers did not even schedule another high-level meeting with Iran, committing only to a lower-level session in July to go over the technical details of a proposal to suspend the enrichment of uranium that Iran has already rejected in principle.
Dennis B. Ross, a former senior White House adviser on Iran, said he believed the negotiations had become a trap, allowing Iran to continue enriching nuclear fuel while the two sides fail to agree on even interim measures to slow the Iranian program. The major powers, he said, should scrap the step-by-step approach in favor of a comprehensive deal that would test Iran’s sincerity, but could also hasten a military confrontation.
“The issue here is, ‘How do you deal with a process that’s going to be harder and harder to justify?’ ” said Mr. Ross, who left the administration in December and is now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “If it looks like you’re engaging in a process for the sake of process, that’s a bigger problem.”
Other critics are even blunter, labeling the talks a “charade” and demanding that Congress pass another round of sanctions against Iran. On Friday, 44 Republican and Democratic senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to abandon the negotiations if the Moscow meeting failed to produce any concessions from Iran.