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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Thursday, May 12, 2005

EU-3 Ultimatum to Iran

From the Washington Post:
Via American Future
European officials notified Iran for the first time yesterday that they will walk away from two years of talks and sign on to a Bush administration strategy for punitive measures against Tehran if it makes good on threats to resume nuclear work in coming days.

In a sharply worded letter to Hassan Rouhani, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany warned that such work "would bring the negotiating process to an end." The letter added: "The consequences could only be negative for Iran."

In mid-March, Secretary of State Rice announced that the US would drop objections to Iran's eventual membership in the World Trade Organization and would also allow, "on a case-by-case basis," some sales of civilian aircraft parts to Iran. She added that these incentives would go into effect only if Iran agrees to halt the enrichment of uranium permanently.

At that time I argued that the Bush administration was not cozying up to the mullahs; instead, the Iranians were being given the opportunity to show their true stripes and, by pursuing this diplomatic strategem, the risk of a split between the US and the Europeans was being minimized.

Bush's nuanced diplomacy seems to be paying off:
The willingness of the European trio to take Iran to task if it ends a suspension of its nuclear program after six months indicated that the Bush administration is having some success in persuading key allies to take a tougher approach with the Islamic republic.

The European shift was prompted in part by frustration with Iran but also by a change in tactics by the White House. After two years of refusing to back Europe's diplomatic track with Iran, the administration decided in March to support the process in exchange for written guarantees that if talks fell apart, Europe would agree to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council.

We may soon find out if the Europeans are as good as their word.


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