Iran declared its refusal Tuesday to discuss its nuclear program -- including the disclosure of a second nuclear enrichment plant -- when it sits down at the negotiating table Thursday with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, Reuters reported. A top Iranian official told the news agency that his country will not abandon its nuclear activities, "even for a second."
Iran's nuclear chief also announced Tuesday that his country built its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility inside a mountain and next to a military site to ensure continuity of its nuclear activities in case of an attack. The revelation comes as the Obama administration works up plans to push for new sanctions against the country, targeting its energy, financial and telecommunications sectors if it does not comply with international demands to come clean about its nuclear program, U.S. officials said Monday.
Then, there's this.
Iran's missile test launches should not be used as an additional argument for imposing sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Tuesday.
Finally, there's this.
President Obama has let Iran know that it faces an arsenal of sanctions if it fails to completely disclose the nature of its nuclear program and ambitions.
But with three rounds of U.N. sanctions already in place -- and Iran's defiant refusal Tuesday to put its nuclear program on the table when it meets Thursday with representatives of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany -- some officials question whether yet another round of sanctions, especially ones dependent on Russia and China, would have any teeth.
If Iran does not cooperate Thursday, the Obama administration has been working up plans to target Iran's energy, financial and telecommunications sectors, U.S. officials said Monday.
If all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. President Bush went through several rounds of this dance, and now it appears President Obama is also going through the same dance. Through allies, we reach out to Iran diplomatically about their nuclear program. They give hints that they may be ready to capitulate. Then, it turns out they've only strung us along. Russia then pays lip service to how terrible it all is but makes sure to let it be known that tough sanctions won't happen. Instead, we got some sort of weak and limp sanctions and we start the process all over again. At some point, our president says something to the effect of "Iran must choose".
In the meantime, Iran has moved from being years away from the bomb to probably months. We've been here before. We've gone through this before, and it's always ended the same. Iran never capitulates. Russia always protects Iran, and whatever sanctions come about ultimately are too weak to work. We are here again. The president is going through the same dance again. Will he really try all the same things and hope for a different result?