Grand Bargaining with Iran

Slowly but surely, Iran’s talks with the international community about its nuclear program are approaching the make-or-break point. A successful deal should mark the beginning of the international community’s efforts to engage Iran in addressing the Middle East’s toughest challenges.

STOCKHOLM – Slowly but surely, Iran’s talks with the international community about its nuclear program are approaching the make-or-break point. But, more important, the outcome could mark a turning point for the wider – and increasingly volatile – Middle East.

The rapprochement between Iran and its negotiating partners on the core nuclear issue is obvious. No one at this point seriously believes that Iran is maintaining an active program to develop nuclear weapons, though not long ago it was almost conventional wisdom that the country was close to having them.

Now the focus is on ensuring that Iran would need a year or so to assemble a nuclear device if it ever decided to do so. But the concept of “breakout time” is dubious. If trust were to collapse, and the Iranian regime decided to abrogate all of the relevant international agreements, it is highly likely that it would get its weapon, even if the country itself was bombed repeatedly. The strategic emphasis on “breakout time” is thus misplaced.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/4yUGwRC;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.