Good Start with Iran?

-

iran khamenei nukes.jpg
I am presently a guest of David Bradley, Walter Isaacson and Shelby Coffey at the Atlantic Monthly/Aspen Institute/Newseum sponsored mega-wonk meeting titled “First Draft of History.” It’s an excellent conference, but I’m losing it listening to Republican Majority Leader Whip Eric Cantor essentially argue that there is zero value engaging Iran.
Does he want the Republican Party really to be the know nothing/do nothing party? Brent Scowcroft, Chuck Hagel, Dimitri Simes, Richard Armitage, James Baker, Edward Djerejian, Alan Simpson, Rita Hauser, Jim Leach, Susan Eisenhower, Christine Todd Whitman, Lincoln Chafee, and many others have either been (or were) major national Republican voices – and all of them would most likely support an engagement strategy to try and change Iran’s current policy course.
But Cantor wants none of them and wants to continue to animate the generally ignorant pretentions of America’s pugnacious nationalists.
Just to be clear, I am not arguing that all who oppose engagement with Iran are ignorant — but Cantor’s explanations on why not to engage are mostly vapid assertions and don’t deal with the broader strategic deficits the US has today. There are many who disagree with me on Iran engagement who I respect — but I just don’t have much time for the kind of argument offered by Representative Cantor.
All that aside, The Guardian‘s Julian Borger reports that there may be better news than bad after the first encounter between American and Iranian negotiations.
One of the benchmarks that Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laid out as a meaure of American seriousness was to get a read on whether we would allow the international order to sell Iran uranium processed to a level of 20% for medical applications. Apparently, the US has given the green light to a deal on this.
Borger writes:

. . .there is an “agreement in principle” that Iran will send out a significant chunk of its low enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for further enriching and then to France, to be processed into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), for making medical isotopes
If all this happens – and there will be a meeting on the details between Iran, France and Russia at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on October 18 – then a lot of the uranium the world is currently worrying about would be temporarily taken out of the equation. Western officials here say that to restock the TRR, Iran would have to send out up to 1200 kg of LEU. That’s about three-quarters of what they’ve got, and it would be out of the country for a year. When it came back it would be in the form of fuel rods, so it could not be turned into weapons grade material in a quick breakout scenario.
The deal was apparently hatched by the Americans and Russians over the past month, and it could be a masterful means of lowering tensions.
It would not infringe what Iran argues is its sovereign right to a fully-fledged nuclear programme, so face would be saved. But it takes off the table, for the time being, the main source of immediate anxiety – the uranium stockpile.

More later. Back to the conference — where we just had an interesting exchange with Niall Ferguson, General David Petraeus, Senator Lindsey Graham, and others.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

17 comments on “Good Start with Iran?

  1. ... says:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/02/president-obama-has-reaffirmed-a-4-decade-old-secr/
    President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.
    The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And your answer to every question, Nadine, is on exactly the same paranoid and primitive level as Outraged, arthurdecco and samuelburke: blame it on the Arabs, the Palestinians, the Muslims”
    Personally, I think you all are missing the boat. If you simply blame it on “those pieces of shit”, without being unduly specific, you can offend everybody at the same time.
    It is a much more economical use of your time.

    Reply

  3. Outraged American says:

    Paul, read back through your and Dans’ comments. I have not
    sat silent as my country attacked others or about our endless
    “War on Terror/ Israel’s war on Islam.”
    And that’s the reason I’m on a “special screening list” at the
    airport, which has made me miss all sorts of things, like
    weddings, funerals, work conferences…
    And the TSA and this fucking bogus “War on Terror” prevented
    me from being immediately by mother’s bedside after she had a
    life-threatening stroke, which has left her mostly paralyzed.
    The TSA, despite the fact that I’m a middle-aged woman who
    has never committed a crime, much less been accused of one,
    has it out for me.
    You bet I’m angry.
    Dan and you, Paul, have repeatedly attacked me. Again, read
    back too.
    Islam is not our enemy. They’d be out growing poppies and
    performing clicterectomys if we just left them alone.
    Israel, driving us into endless war against her enemies, is our
    enemy.
    You betcha ya.

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    I think you missed the operative word in OA’s comment, Paul; the word was “psychopath”.
    Engaging one rarely accomplishes anything. It’s usually not good for them either.

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    Outraged,
    this is getting more and more weird.
    Now, please READ what I said above:
    “You know very well that Dan and I are just as opposed to a military attack
    against Iran as you are. And if it happened, we are just as inclined as you
    are to hold Israel responsible for the madness of such an act.”
    So what the fuck is your point, Outraged?
    Do you have a point?
    Or are you just very very angry?

    Reply

  6. Outraged American says:

    Paul-what about DEATH do you not understand? UsRael is
    threatening another country with death.
    I produce what you call “noise” because I want to stop kids from
    being killed, except the ones I pretend to love,
    I wish they would just go away and join the military because
    that’s all they’re good for. Losers.
    Go back to your hut, Paul — I just got off the phone with a
    Capitol Hill lobbyist — you run your country and we’ll make a
    frantic attempt to run ours.
    And while you and Dan are at it, make sure and send tens of
    thousands of YOUR PERSONAL ($90,000 in my husband and my
    case) tax dollars to be used on WAR, and then perhaps you could
    feel the attendant resentment, as a US taxpayer.
    Killing millions of Iraqis, Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians,
    Lebanese, Pakistanis, versus a community pool in Phoenix
    during the summer. Where do you and Dan Kervick get off?
    As “people”, and I use this term lightly, who have no personal
    stake in whether UsRael, EurIsrael attacks Iran, you need to
    STFU. That translates into you need to SHUT THE FUCK UP.
    Your and other posters complete inability to understand why
    posters on this board might want to stop an attack on Iran,
    would be unfathomable, unless we accept that you’re
    psychopaths.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry,
    my comment above belongs to another thread.
    My response to Nadine`s last comment on this thread is: What you call “education”,
    most of us here would call propaganda.

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    But I assume that you had no complains against the unitary executive theory in vogue
    during the Bush years?
    You are so biased, Nadine, that you would accept any kind of revolt against US
    foreign policies during a Obama administration, and demand obedience while the
    unitary executive George W. Bush was in charge. Sorry Nadine, but you don`t have any
    credibility in a discussion about principles, or when you accuse others of
    hypocrisy.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    No, Paul, I think I have shown capcacity to be far more nuanced when talking with people who accept Israel’s right to exist and are working for peace. These people I think are honestly mistaken if they blame everything on Israel and I try to educate them on the history of the area, which many know literally nothing about. The Mandate, the wars, the treaties, nothing, they just don’t know how anything happened. It’s not my position that Israel is blameless. But it is my position that the underlying reason for no peace in the Mideast is the Arab refusal to accept the existence of Israel. Period.
    But those who deny the last Holocaust in order to prepare the way for a new one, or are motivated by Jew-hatred, should not be met with nuance but must be fought at every turn. Slanders accepted become “truths” that fuel genocide. The Big Lie works. Words become actions. If the Jews learned anything from the last 100 years, they learned that much.

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    “That’s why the answer to every question is: It’s
    Israel’s fault.”
    And your answer to every question, Nadine, is on
    exactly the same paranoid and primitive level as
    Outraged, arthurdecco and samuelburke: blame it on
    the Arabs, the Palestinians, the Muslims.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    Paul, Jew-hatred, esp. the Protocols-inspired Jews-control-the-world variety, is a very powerful motive. That’s why the answer to every question is: It’s Israel’s fault.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    Outraged,
    why do you continue to produce so much noise?
    You know very well that Dan and I are just as opposed to a military attack against Iran as you
    are. And if it happened, we are just as inclined as you are to hold Israel responsible for the
    madness of such an act. As far as I remember, Dan also has a young son – so this is just as real
    for him as it is for you.
    So why don`t you just shove it?

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    Iran has broken every agreement it has made. You discover secret hidden nuclear facilities and the next day you respond “More engagement”
    Is there ANY level of lying or stalling on Iran’s part that would convince you it was useless? They have gained 11 years for their nuclear developmetn so far. Everybody, even the hapless IAEA, knows they are developing weapons.
    Steve, you know the Democratic establishment is ready to accept an Iranian bomb, so why all the pretense about confidence-building?

    Reply

  14. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig — you are right…to a point. But I’m interested in seeing sane, reasonable people hijack the Republican party back. I was with John McCain and Lindsey Graham this morning, and I have to say that he was back to the straight talk express manner he had in 2000. I miss that McCain — and think he should not have remodeled his views and positions during the last race. His party would be less vulnerable to the demagogues who have taken over the party operation.
    but i admit that your commentary is not off base.
    best, steve

    Reply

  15. Outraged American says:

    I love how all these foreigners weigh in about Iran and then
    accuse me of anti-Zionism.
    Sure, Canada will probably send a few doughboys to Iran when
    UsRael attacks, and Norway will send a greeting card to wish us
    success along with a few pounds of lox.
    But my family will be sending our kids. To die.
    What … and Norheim, (and Kervick, who claims to be an
    American but I’m starting to think is a settler in East Jerusalem,
    whose sister-in-law is Wig Wag) do you not get about that?
    That if Israel or UsRael attack Iran, it will BE THE KIDS IN MY
    FAMILY AND MANY OTHER FAMILIES OUT THERE DYING?
    Yes, Obama is walking a fine line, but the Israel lobby will win
    and we will, the whole world, will be crying. We never learn.

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    “Does he want the Republican Party really to be the know nothing/do nothing party? Brent Scowcroft, Chuck Hagel, Dimitri Simes, Richard Armitage, James Baker, Edward Djerejian, Alan Simpson, Rita Hauser, Jim Leach, Susan Eisenhower, Christine Todd Whitman, Lincoln Chafee, and many others have either been (or were) major national Republican voices – and all of them would most likely support an engagement strategy to try and change Iran’s current policy course.” (Steve Clemons)
    I’m afraid that you’re not facing reality, Steve. The people you mentioned (and I’m surprised you didn’t include yourself on the list) are no longer welcome in the Republican Party.
    Eisenhower, Chafee and Leach all admitted to voting for Obama; Hagel almost certainly did as well. Rita Hauser contributed $2,300 to Obama’s presidential campaign on 3/31/08 (according to opensecrets.org). In fact, if I had to guess, I would predict that everyone on your list was an Obama voter. I think you said that you were too.
    I don’t want to sound mean, but there is something almost pathetic about the way these people cling to a political party that has nothing but disdain for their views. The best analogy is with the “Log Cabin” Republicans; another group that’s fated to remain on the outside looking in.
    There are essentially no Republican House members and, at most, one Republican Senator (Richard Lugar) who find the foreign policy views of the people you mentioned even marginally palatable. There’s not one legitimate contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012 who agrees with anything this group has to say on engaging Iran or anything else.
    Face it; the *realist* camp in the Republican Party no longer has any traction; the *isolationist* camp is dead and buried and the Rockefeller Republicans are but a distant memory.
    And I’m sure you know that it was the man you eulogized last week, Irving Kristol, who is ultimately responsible for banishing these Republicans from their party; probably forever.
    You are all exiles now.

    Reply

  17. ... says:

    follow the money….
    “Republican Majority Leader Whip Eric Cantor essentially argue that there is zero value engaging Iran…”

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *