Our colleague Jim Lobe, the long-time D.C. bureau chief of Inter Press Service, has a piece up at IPS that goes over many of the latest developments on U.S.-Iran relations from this weekend and today. Included are the outburst of hawkish rhetoric coming from Republicans on the heels of their electoral victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S., and reports released by two D.C. think tanks.
Jim’s work is always worth a thorough read, but here’s an excerpt from his latest:
According to “diplomatic sources” quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu warned Biden that Iran “is attempting to mislead the West, and there are worrying signs that the international community is captivated by this mirage.”
“The only time that Iran stopped its nuclear programme was in 2003, and that was when they believed that there was a real chance of an American military strike against them,” he reportedly told Biden.
U.S. neo-conservatives and other hawks have been making much the same argument for some time. In a speech to the influential Council on Foreign Relations in late September, Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who is close to Graham and former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, called for Obama to “take steps that make clear that if diplomatic and economic strategies continue to fail to change Iran’s nuclear policies, a military strike is not just a remote possibility in the abstract, but a real and credible alternative policy that we and our allies are ready to exercise.”
His remarks were praised by William Kristol, the editor of the neo-conservative Weekly Standard and a top adviser to Republican foreign-policy hawks, and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.
Such war talk was denounced as “dangerous” Monday by the Atlantic Council’s chairman, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, who also co-chairs Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board, as well as the Council’s Iran task force. “If you’re going to threaten war on any kind of consistent basis, then you’d better be prepared to follow through on that (threat),” he said.
“The United States of America is currently in two of the longest wars we’ve ever been in… at a very significant cost to this country. …I’m not sure the people of the United States want to do a third war,” he said.