Answering Paine on Ledeen

I am just responding to an “insightful comment”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/?parentid=285 by Chris Paine at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

I agree that my uses of the phrase “give up” was probably a bit off. What I should have said was “agree to not use” or “dismantle” or something like that. I didn’t say that Iran will give up its “right” to the fuel cycle — I agree that they probably won’t.

However, I am a little more optimistic than Chris. Iran’s public statements suggest Tehran *may* accept some agreement that allows the Iranian government to say “we stopped enriching because we wanted to, not because we had to.” Tehran seems to be fixated on not being *required* by the IAEA to do something that it is not legally required to do. Iran wants its “rights” recognized, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll exercise them.

I think Chris’ ideas are good (especially the establishment of some universal rule that would deal with the fuel cycle problem), but unlikely in the short term. We may have to settle for some arrangement that leaves some ambiguity about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Given the alternatives — and the likely inability of this administration to get its act together on this issue — I could well support such an arrangement (not that anyone’s asking me.)

I’ve sent Chris a recent ACT “article”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_11/Iran_EU.asp I wrote; I thought I’d also post it here.

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