The Daily Talking Points

News and views on U.S.-Iran relations for December 9, 2010:

  • The Washington Post: The Post’s editorial board opines that the P5+1 talks in Geneva benefited Iran by introducing Turkey into the negotiations, where negotiations will continue next month, and provided Tehran with a means to postpone further additional international pressure. “[Iran] seeks to delay further sanctions, create dissension among the United States and its allies, and distract attention from its continuing crackdown on the opposition Green movement,” writes the Post. The editorial board concludes that the United States should continue to participate in negotiations, “but it does mean that they should press forward simultaneously with other strategies to stop the Iranian nuclear program.” Such “strategies,” include “a full ban on landings by Iranian airliners in Europe,” and “great efforts to support Iran’s internal resistance.”
  • The Washington Post: Jennifer Rubin writes on her Right Turn blog that “we really have no effective policy to thwart an Iranian nuclear program.” Rubin interviews the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka who tells her that, “Every negotiation [with the Iranians] is like Groundhog Day, but at the end of the process, instead of spring, Iran gets a nuclear weapon.” Rubin cites Sen. Joe Lieberman’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this year and his call for putting a military strike on the table. She concludes, “Having taken the use of force effectively off the table, can the administration credibly put it back on, and if not, are we resigned to a nuclear-armed revolutionary Islamic state?”
  • Commentary: Omri Creen blogs on Contentions that “Egypt — perennially a bullet and a disgruntled general away from being the most dangerous country in the region — is not going to cope well with Iranian nuclearization,” citing a WikiLeaks cable which describes Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak telling U.S. officials that Egypt may seek nuclear arms if Iran develops a nuclear weapon. Creen warns that “There’s little doubt that Cairo would take to bullying neighbors over how the Nile is divvied up, for instance,” and “Muslim radicals will run roughshod over religious minorities, correctly guessing that no one will pressure the fragile Egyptian regime to stop them.”
  • National Review Online: Clifford May, president of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes critically of the Obama administration’s response to the WikiLeaks cable scandal and questions the U.S.’s preparedness for cyber attacks. May argues that “[Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might view such a cyberattack as contributing toward his long-term goal: “A world without America.” He suggests, recycling the meme that Iranian leadership is irrational, that Iran’s leaders might not care if the  U.S. retaliated with “a rain of fire.” May cites the Stuxnet computer worm, which reportedly attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities, as an example of effective use of cyber warfare against Iran. He concludes, “Deductive speculation has led many to the belief that the Israelis developed this sophisticated search-and-destroy device. Did Americans partner with them? I hope so.”

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Well Jen, if we don’t have an effective policy to thwart an Iranian nuclear program, then how about accepting reality and working for a thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations?

  2. Jennifer Rubin interviews Daniel Pletka and quotes Joe Lieberman–the sound of one hand clapping.

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