Right-Headedness on the PMD Issue Apparently PrevailingPosted: June 27, 2014
I was pleased to see this NYT article by David Sanger, which seems to indicate that a pragmatic and prudent approach to the PMD issue is prevailing in the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1/IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program. Quoting from the piece:
American negotiators seem to be steering away from forcing a full historical accounting from the Iranians before any accord is signed, arguing that excavating the past is less important than assuring Iran does not have the raw material to make a weapon. And the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said in an interview last week that no one should expect a complete historical accounting.
“It is not possible to find out everything,” said Mr. Amano, a former Japanese diplomat who is trying, as his predecessor did, to work methodically through a list of a dozen areas that he calls “possible military dimensions” of the Iranian program.
As I’ve written before, this is a welcome development, and the negotiators from the West should be complimented for it (never thought you’d hear me say that, did you?). The basic philosophy underlying it, with which I very much agree, is that what is most important now is to come to an agreement among the parties about the present and future, in order to reduce tensions and begin the process of normalizing relations between Iran and the West, both politically and economically. And that stressing investigation into past possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work will only make such a comprehensive agreement impossible. A very practical position that correctly apportions emphasis, in my view.
There are many, including notably David Albright, who have insisted, and continue to insist, that a full reckoning of Iran’s possible weaponization R&D in the past must precede any comprehensive agreement. This is entirely impractical, as well as unnecessary, and seems calculated to keep a diplomatic accord from ever happening. I’m pleased that P5+1 negotiators have not listened to such voices on this issue.