Today the United States reached agreement with five other countries, including Russia and China, on a package of incentives and penalties designed to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. The agreement comes on the heels of our offer to negotiate directly with Iran if it first agrees to give up nuclear enrichment, a condition that Iran immediately rejected.
It’s hard to know what to make of the six-nation agreement, since the parties declined to describe the package until it has been presented to Iran. I have a hard time believing, however, that much will come of it. I doubt that Iran is amenable to financial incentives. International “pressure” and Security Council resolutions are useless unless a credible threat of force lies behind them. I don’t think the American people have the stomach for any kind of armed confrontation with Iran. The administration knows it, and I’m pretty sure the mullahs know it. And the Europeans are useless. I have no idea what lies ahead with regard to Iran, but I will be very pleasantly surprised if a package of financial carrots and sticks will have any impact on the regime’s determination to become a nuclear power.