Diplomacy with Iran After the Crackdown

Earlier today, President Obama said “There is no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks,” referring to the Iranian government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters angry about the perceived fraud surrounding the Jun. 12 elections in the Islamic Republic.

The widely viewed video footage of a young woman bleeding to death after being shot by a government-affiliated militiaman, as well as other acts of violence directed at protesters, elicited outrage and condemnation from Western leaders.

Obama came into office promising to open dialogue with countries that have been hostile to the US, including Iran.  The desire to reach an accord with the Iranians stems largely from the belief among intellegence officials that Iran is close to developing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iranian leaders deny.

Obama will violate his promise to deal with distateful regimes if he suspends diplomatic engagement with Iran because of the recent suppression of dissent.  Obama recently stated that time is of the essence when it comes to negotiations with Iran because its nuclear program is moving forward quickly, an argument that would make disengagement seem foolish.  A diplomatic pause would not improve the situation in Iran, but merely undermine the administration’s efforts to stop nuclear proliferation.

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