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The Push and Pull Over Iran in Washington

Uncategorized Comments (5)

According to Swoop:

The Administration’s decision to send Assistant Secretary of State William Burns to participate in the July 19th P5+1 meeting with Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva signals Washington’s commitment to further diplomatic maneuvering. The decision is controversial inside the Administration. A National Security Council official told us: “Secretary Rice’s swift negative dismissal of Jalili’s unsatisfactory response reflects her need to protect her back against the Vice-President.” Nonetheless, taken against the background of the dire warnings made by the Pentagon regarding Tehran’s missile tests a fortnight ago, US diplomatic persistence has come as a surprise to many commentators. In Washington, the White House’s policy line continues to inspire debate from all angles, being seen by turns as either too rigid (the line of the Obama campaign and more liberal think-tanks), or as a form of appeasement (sentiments reflected by more conservative, Israel-minded groups). This controversy is mirrored within the Administration itself, where the current dominance of the diplomacy-orientated Rice faction remains the target of a sustained insurgency on the part of the ‘war party’ emanating from the Vice-President’s office. This dissension parallels, in many respects, the debate over North Korea, with similar arguments raging over the drive for political expediency, versus the risks of escalation. A salient difference is that, in dealing with Tehran, the White House must weigh the risk of transferring the responsibility to the next Administration against the possibility that it will be preempted by Israeli military action.

Irancove @ July 26, 2008

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