Persian Dilemmas: The Discouraging Lessons of U.S. Iranian Relations

Last month, the foreign ministers of France, Great Britain, and Germany triumphantly announced a new accord with Iran. Formally, the agreement obligates Iran to suspend temporarily all enrichment of uranium in return for some as-yet-unspecified economic benefits, including a steady supply of enriched uranium to fuel Iran's light water nuclear reactor. Informally, the Europeans believe their diplomatic negotiations have helped to suspend Iran's nuclear weapons program. Of course, no one can claim openly that the new deal hinders a nuclear weapons program, since Iran has never admitted to having one. Still, the Europeans proudly point to their accomplishment as proof that diplomacy works.

Last month, the foreign ministers of France, Great Britain, and Germany triumphantly announced a new accord with Iran. Formally, the agreement obligates Iran to suspend temporarily all enrichment of uranium in return for some as-yet-unspecified economic benefits, including a steady supply of enriched uranium to fuel Iran's light water nuclear reactor. Informally, the Europeans believe their diplomatic negotiations have helped to suspend Iran's nuclear weapons program. Of course, no one can claim openly that the new deal hinders a nuclear weapons program, since Iran has never admitted to having one. Still, the Europeans proudly point to their accomplishment as proof that diplomacy works.