Gary Leupp: Is Iran Getting a “Freebie”?





Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu.

There are some indications of a widening split between top officials over the way to engage Iran within the framework of the 5+1 talks. On the one hand, there are those, echoed by Obama himself, who argue that a deal over the Iranian nuclear program is possible. On the other are those who argue that the talks are doomed to fail, and even desperately hope for their collapse.

The “Bomb Iran” crowd has had input into the demands presented to the Iranians by the U.S.: they must suspend higher uranium enrichment, close down the Fordow  enrichment facility, and “surrender” their stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity. Iran is unlikely to agree to all of these, but this mix of demands allows for negotiations that might lead to a peaceful resolution to the stand-off. David Ignatius has intimated in a Washington Post column that a deal has already been negotiated behind the scenes.

The deal would center on the recognition by the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany that Iran indeed has the right to enrich uranium, a right made very clear (and described as “inalienable”) in the Non-Proliferation Treaty but one that Israel (with its extensive, secret nuclear program) refuses to recognize, period.

If a deal is struck, it would delight the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (In 2007 the Times of London reported that “Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.”) Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned while in office, “If you think the Iraq War was hard, an attack on Iran in my opinion would be a catastrophe.” His successor Leon Panetta has voiced a similar opinion....




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