May 12, 2012

HELPING THEM IN OFF OF THE LEDGE:

A compelling plan for Iranian talks (David Ignatius, 5/12/12, Washington Post)

The basic idea of the Carnegie proposal is to create a "firewall" between Iran's civilian nuclear program, which it could pursue, and a military bomb-making program, which it couldn't. Along with separating permissible from impermissible, the Carnegie authors propose special procedures for dual-use technologies that are near the dividing line.

A big selling point for the Iranians is that this approach is based on the pledge by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that Iran won't build nuclear weapons. Khamenei's most explicit statement came on state television in February: "Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous."

President Obama sent a back-channel communication to Khamenei in March that his fatwa banning nuclear weapons would be a good starting point for negotiations. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered the message when he met Khamenei on March 29. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman reiterated Obama's theme during the first round of negotiations with the Iranians in Istanbul on April 14.
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Posted by at May 12, 2012 6:40 AM
  

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