What to Do about Iran

(Boston Globe) Nicholas Burns - What to do about an increasingly threatening Iran is now the most important foreign policy challenge of 2012. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have tried since 2005 to punish and isolate Iran with ever tougher sanctions while leaving the door open to negotiations and an eventual diplomatic solution. As an Iranian nuclear weapon is rightly unacceptable to the U.S., both presidents left the threat of force on the table to concentrate the attention of mullahs in Tehran. Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and a pernicious troublemaker in Iraq and Afghanistan. That it wants to go nuclear is not contested seriously in any major world capital. As the Bush administration's undersecretary of state working to stop Iran's nuclear program, I didn't encounter a single international official, including from China and Russia, who disagreed that Iran's enrichment efforts and missile tests are designed for just one purpose - to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity. At the insistence of congressional leaders, Obama will now have the authority to target Iran's Central Bank and foreign firms that do business with it. Meanwhile, the European Union is on the verge of approving an equally powerful oil embargo. These will be, by far, the most lethal sanctions ever imposed on Iran. The writer served as U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (2005-2008).

2012-01-20 00:00:00

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