It’s always a little embarrassing when a person woos another without having their efforts requited. Offer to get together and chat? No answer. Offer an outstretched hand? Silence. Beg for another chance to rescue a foolish “agreement” that the intended never would have honored anyway? The New York Times reports on the response:
The Obama administration, attempting to salvage a faltering nuclear deal with Iran, has told Iran’s leaders in back-channel messages that it is willing to allow the country to send its stockpile of enriched uranium to any of several nations, including Turkey, for temporary safekeeping, according to administration officials and diplomats involved in the exchanges.
But the overtures, made through the International Atomic Energy Agency over the past two weeks, have all been ignored, the officials said. Instead, they said, the Iranians have revived an old counterproposal: that international arms inspectors take custody of much of Iran’s fuel, but keep it on Kish, a Persian Gulf resort island that is part of Iran.
A senior Obama administration official said that proposal had been rejected because leaving the nuclear material on Iranian territory would allow for the possibility that the Iranians could evict the international inspectors at any moment. That happened in North Korea in 2003, and within months the country had converted its fuel into the material for several nuclear weapons.
The intermediary in the exchanges between Washington and Tehran has been Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the energy agency. He confirmed some of the proposals — including one to send Iran’s fuel to Turkey, which has nurtured close relations with Iran — in interviews in New York late last week.
But members of the Obama administration, in interviews over the weekend, said that they had now all but lost hope that Iran would follow through with an agreement reached in Geneva on Oct. 1 to send its fuel out of the country temporarily — buying some time for negotiations over its nuclear program.
Gee, what a shock that must have been to “members of the Obama administration,” suddenly realizing that Iran didn’t intend to “follow through with an agreement” that would have limited its pursuit of nuclear weapons! Why, who could possibly have foreseen that? The fact that the previous two administrations got the same result from their attempts to engage Iran, and just because the intelligence we had in hand showed the Iranians in hot pursuit of nukes doesn’t mean that gabbing on about “outstretched hands” wouldn’t suddenly bring a new dawn of rationality in Tehran!
Well, at least Barack Obama won that Nobel Peace Prize. Thank goodness something of substance came out of all that Smart Power.
I’m not sure which is more darkly humorous: the fact that the Obama administration apparently just figured this out, or that the Gray Lady reported it. The Times also reports that Obama will wait until the end of the year to conclude that he’s been stood up. After that? It’s “unclear” what Obama will do. Obama has “suggested” he’ll return to the tough sanctions that he abandoned to offer an outstretched hand.
In other words, Obama essentially lost a year that the West could ill afford to lose, and meanwhile he’s shocked, shocked to find that Iran has taken his measure. That means Obama is eligible for the Captain Louis Renault Medal of Honor Award: