Further to yesterday’s post about how limited NATO’s deterrent options are, here’s the U.S. Secretary of State essentially promising Iran normalized relations, economic benefits, plus the kitchen sink if they’ll pretend to suspend uranium enrichment while continuing it covertly in some military facility away from prying eyes. It’s a rehash of the 2003 offer from the mullahs that Bush allegedly snubbed (although not quite as good) and a sneak preview of what a Clinton or Obama deal with Iran will look like if/when it happens. The punchline? Ahmadinejad is near or at his political nadir back home, so all we’re really doing here is giving comfort.

Just one day after getting agreement on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution against Tehran, Rice offered the incentive of a “more normal relationship” and expanded trade if Iran gave up sensitive nuclear work, according to the prepared text of her speech to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland…

“If Iran would suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities – which is an international demand, not just an American one – then we could begin negotiations, and we could work over time to build a new, more normal relationship,” she said.

Rice said this new relationship could be defined not by fear and mistrust but growing cooperation, expanding trade and exchange, and the peaceful resolution of differences.

The other element of a grand bargain? A standdown in Iraq, where Iranian meddling persists to this day.

Tags: Barack Obama