Iran: We'll never suspend uranium enrichment

I trust you’ll have the same reaction to this story as I did. Namely, what would Winnie the Pooh do?

Iran said on Tuesday uranium enrichment was its “red line” and would continue, despite an enhanced offer of incentives from big powers to stop activity the West fears could yield nuclear bombs…

The incentive package agreed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany last month and delivered by Solana is a revised version of one rejected by Iran in 2006…

The incentives package offers Iran the chance to develop a civilian nuclear program with light water reactors — seen as harder to divert into bomb-making than the technology Tehran is now developing — and legally binding fuel supply guarantees.

It also offers trade and other benefits, including the possibility of Iran buying civil aircraft from the West.

Read the whole piece and you’ll see that the offer’s even more generous than that, offering potential security guarantees and even the prospect of letting Iran continue its own nuclear R&D (er, why?) if enrichment is suspended and it keeps its nose clean. All of this, of course, is pursuant to an agonizing, protracted, years-long series of negotiations between Iran and the west of the sort that Senator Hopenchange would have us believe either hasn’t been happening on Bush’s watch or hasn’t been happening earnestly enough because Bush hasn’t deigned to engage in any “direct presidential diplomacy” with cretins like Ahmadinejad. In that sense, oddly enough, Obama takes a more exalted view of presidential prestige than even conservatives do: Somehow, the mere act of re-presenting this proposal to Iran with a whiff of White House legitimacy attached is going to melt their hearts and convince them to take the deal. Or maybe it’s not presidential prestige he’s banking on so much as his own personal prestige, as though being gladhanded by the Messiah is going to reduce them to stammering, Kmiec-esque fanboys.

The very first question at the very first debate between Obama and McCain should be: What would you do to improve upon this offer? And the second question should be: What would you do if they still refuse?