Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Options to Avert War with Iran

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Options to Avert War with Iran

Article excerpt

During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy made a secret deal with the Soviet Union: He would remove US missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Kremlin pulling its missiles from Cuba. A war was averted.

Is President Obama heading toward a similar "crisis" - and secret compromise - with Iran?

Events appear to be heading quickly toward confrontation between Washington and Tehran. Consider these recent signals:

Facing an Obama-set deadline of late September to suspend its nuclear program in return for substantial talks or face tougher economic sanctions, Iran gave a weak response Tuesday. It said in a vague official memo that talks with Western powers are possible but only on broad international issues. Its nuclear program will continue.

The US and its partners in Europe were not impressed.

At the same time, the US announced Iran had achieved a "possible breakout capacity" to develop bomb-grade material from its enrichment of uranium - quickly, if it chose to.

"We have serious concerns that Iran is deliberately attempting, at a minimum, to preserve a nuclear weapons option," said Glyn Davies, US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Obama administration now faces choices almost as difficult as did Kennedy: How much do you escalate possible threats? How much do you compromise and what can be done in secret?

Mr. Obama has already sent letters to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in hopes of direct, private engagement. This outstretched US hand was rebuffed, another sign that Iran is stalling as it develops a secret nuclear program. (Its 7,000-8,000 centrifuges at the Natanz facility can, in theory, produce enough enriched uranium for two or three atomic bombs.)

Now, with Obama's deadline looming, the American president has little choice but to move toward seeking international sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.