News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 19th, 2010:
Washington Post: Columnist David Ignatius takes a broad view of the Obama administration’s diplomatic trouble spots and prescribes “patience plus” because time is actually on the side of U.S. counterparts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, and Iran. Ignatius admires the current “diplomatic ambiguity,” but thinks Obama needs to “promptly seize opportunities for negotiation when they arise,” noting that this will hopefully be accomplished in September or October when Iran and the P5 + 1 sit down for talks on the nuclear issue and probably Afghanistan.
Washington Post (AP): Iran’s ambassador to the UN is angered that top Pentagon brass acknowledged a U.S. contingency plan to bomb Iran, denouncing the rhetoric as an unprovoked “threat.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made similar statements, adding that, should the United States attack, “the field of the Iranian nation’s confrontation will not be only our region.” Khamanei also warned that belligerent talk would end negotiations.
Weekly Standard Blog: Gabriel Schoenfeld tries to sort the recent chatter about the Iranian nuclear clock writing, “Time may be on our side in dealing with Iran—but then again it may not.” Not quite endorsing the nuclear time line in Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest piece (the Israel contention that next July is the doomsday), Schoenfeld then takes on the Atlantic‘s James Fallows, who thinks the United States has some time. “For an analyst as thoughtful as James Fallows to assert categorically that we will not be taken by surprise is itself a surprise. One might even call it an intelligence failure,” writes Schoenfeld.
Pajames Media: Hudson Institute Fellow Anne Bayefsky writes that the “Ground Zero Mosque” has “an Iranian connection.” Bayefsky cites a photograph of Cordoba Initiative chairman, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, and Iranian Mohammad Javad Larijani at a 2008 event sponsored by the Initiative in Kuala Lumpur. Larijani defended Iran at the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year. Bayefsky warns that, “The Iranian connection to the launch of Cordoba House may go beyond a relationship between Rauf and Larijani. The Cordoba Initiative lists one of its three major partners as the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance has its roots in the Iranian-driven “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” the brainchild of former Iranian President Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami.”