Iran put an exclamation point on its message to the US that it’s not interested in having its reactor fuel reprocessed outside of its territory. Yesterday it announced it was going to try the three hapless Americans who stumbled into Iran, on spy charges. These idiot thrill seekers are now hostages who are being used for leverage against the US. And just like the embassy hotages in the Carter presidency, they are being used to humiliate Obama.
At the end of September, after months of negotiations, Iran agreed in principle to allow its research reactor fuel to be reprocessed outside of its borders. This is important from a non-proliferation standpoint because the country doing the reprocessing has control of the spent fuel byproducts, most importantly the nuclear explosive plutonium. But as the October deadline loomed, Iran first agreed to allow France and Russia to do it, then only Russia and eventually said no one could. That’s where it stands now. The administration is desperately shopping around for another country such as Turkey without much luck so far. Iran is doing a typical stall, buying time while it continues its nuclear enrichment program.
This is the inevitable outcome when one side has talks as its prime goal, and the other just wants time. For Iran the price is cheap, just the expenditure of a lot of hot air. Obama should look back at the endless talks of the Carter years over our embassy hostages that invariably ended in frustration. At a certain point the US must say we have passed the deadlines, we are making no progress and we will take appropriate action. And still we haven’t even addressed Iran’s uranium enrichment program which should be our prime objective.