By Michael Ledeen
The New York Times reports (and the White House denies) that “The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.”
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Two of the three assertions in that lead paragraph are demonstrably false. One-on-one negotiations have been going on for years (most recently, according to my friend “Reza Kahlili,” in Doha, where, he was told, Valerie Jarrett and other American officials recently traveled for the latest talks). The only news here is that the talks would no longer be secret. And the notion that only diplomacy can avert “a military strike on Iran” is fanciful. There are at least two other ways: sanctions may compel the regime to stop its nuclear weapons program, or the Iranian people may find a way to overthrow the regime, thereby (perhaps, at least) rendering military action unnecessary.
I rather suspect that you don’t have to do anything to avoid an American military strike on Iran. I can’t imagine an Obama administration authorizing a military attack. An administration that can barely bring itself to fly air cover in Libya, and can’t bring itself to take any serious action in Syria, strikes me as very unlikely to unleash our armed forces against the mullahs.