June 25, 2012
Credit: Credit: Globalsecurity.org
The pressure is growing and the threats are escalating against Iran. The U.S. Congress is increasingly expressing impatience. Both major U.S. presidential candidates keep making it clear they see war as an option to end Iran's nuclear program. Yet direct talks between Iranian and European negotiators have broken down. And Iran's uranium-enrichment program continues.
The question is, why has nothing moved Iran to compromise?
It's not that Tehran is determined to pursue the program at any cost. Iran brought the enrichment program “to an abrupt halt” in 2003 after the U.S. invaded Iraq, David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the House Armed Services Committee June 20. Instead, it may simply be that, this time, Tehran does not take the military threat seriously.
“We don't think the Iranians really believe that [the U.S. will strike],” Stephen Rademaker, a member of the National Security Project (NSP), recently told the House Armed Services Committee. But once the U.S. became bogged down in the Iraq conflict, it restarted its weapons effort.
“The Revolutionary Guard holds that power and will dictate what takes place,” says former Sen. Charles Robb, a co-chairman of the NSP. Washington may have to divert resources from the new Asia-Pacific strategy to the Middle East to ensure Iran takes a military threat seriously, he says.
The Senate also weighed in.
“We must conclude that Tehran is using the talks as a cover to buy time as it continues to advance toward nuclear weapons capability,” says a June 15 letter from 44 U.S. senators to President Barack Obama. “Allowing Iran to gain this capability is unacceptable.” The letter was organized by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo).