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That seems to dovetail with Obama’s reported message to Iran that the upcoming talks are a last opportunity for a peaceful solution.
The Western allies are even, the Times says, looking to leverage Israel’s warnings—“gambling that crushing sanctions and the threat of Israeli military action” will bolster Iranians who prefer a negotiated settlement.
The article also cites officials who are worried that “Iran may have worked on warhead designs and nuclear triggers” and that “the Russians and the Chinese are trying to water down the sanctions”—and offers a further spicy tidbit:
European allies, especially the French and the British, say they are concerned that Mr. Obama will want to keep the negotiations going, however unproductive they might be, through the November presidential election to avoid the possibility of a military strike if the talks fail.
Israel and some European leaders fear that would play into what they perceive as Iran’s strategy to use the talks to buy time while its centrifuges keep spinning.
The two leading U.S. papers, then, giving contrasting views. The Post portrays an administration that is essentially complacent; the Times depicts an administration that is leaning more toward an Israeli-like sense of urgency—though some still have serious doubts about that.
Tehran, for its part, reacted quickly to the Times article by “saying it will neither close…Fordo…nor give up higher uranium enrichment,” denouncing such demands as “irrational.”
The upshot is that a moment of truth is approaching. If Obama indeed lets Iran string the talks along and lets Russia and China (members of the P5 + 1 along with the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany) shield it from any decisive consequences, those who take a dim view of his seriousness on the issue will be vindicated once and for all. Israel will, then, face a harrowing situation of watching Iran inch closer and closer to nukes while “peace talks” drag on.
The only other possibility is that the talks will break down more or less quickly without results. But while Obama will probably then react by tightening the sanctions, that can still be a way of coasting through to November if the sanctions—as is close to certain—still don’t get Iran to stop its program. In that case Israel would, however, be freer to act.
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