The Daily Talking Points

News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 20th, 2010:

  • New York Times: Mark Manzetti and David Sanger report that the Obama administration has “persuaded” Israel that Iran is at least one year — if not more — away from having the potential to build a nuclear bomb. (This is consistent with the “at least 18 months” figure reported by Sanger and William Broad in January.) In the latest piece, an anonymous U.S. official said Iran was currently questioning how far to push its program: “The argument is over how far to push the program, how close to a weapon they can get without paying an even higher price.”
  • The Atlantic blog: In an interesting forum on Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent piece on Israel and Iran, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy‘s Patrick Clawson writes that, “Washington and Jerusalem see eye-to-eye in their assessment of where Iran stands and how quickly it is moving forward.” He concludes that while this is the case, differing threat perceptions and military doctrines — the “Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force” vs. Israel’s “mow the grass,” quick, incremental mentality — might cause Israeli and  U.S. intentions to diverge again later this year.
  • The Jewish Week: The Jewish Week‘s editorial board summarizes Jeffrey Goldberg’s article on Israel and Washington’s potential military response to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. The authors endorse the sanctions track but share Goldberg’s doubt that Iran can be deterred from acquiring nuclear weapons. “…Goldberg told The Jewish Week on Tuesday that ‘Iran loves nukes and will do anything to have them.'”  The editorial concludes that, “For now, we must do all we can in support of the administration’s efforts to convince Iran to end its nuclear program voluntarily. But Washington needs to address what happens when that fails.”

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.