Monday, November 24, 2014

US and Iran Extend Nuclear Talks yet Again for 7 More Months

The United States and Iran have moved to declare a seventh month extension in their talks to dismantle heavy parts of Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Once again, the two sides continue to be far apart in reaching any sort of framework for making a deal for Iran to cut back on their controversial nuclear program. Arguably one of President Obama's top foreign policy goals, this comes as a huge disappointment and failure for the administration and also hits at a bad time, with ISIS and terrorist groups in the middle east commanding a huge amount of attention as we already know. It seems that this situation is nowhere close to becoming resolved, especially with Iran's supreme leader-Ayatollah Ali Khamenei- having yet to offer his acknowledgement that he is willing to make the huge sacrifices that Washington is demanding. On top of that, Iran's president told his fellow Iranians on national tv that no matter what happens in the talks "the centrifuges are spinning and will never stop." John Kerry then said "we would be fools to walk away" which is basically admitting that we do not quit because we are the United States and we have already put in too much work to abandon such measures. With that said, there are no clear indications of where these talks will go next. The next date to mark on the calendar is March 1st, which is the first deadline in reaching a political agreement in the new seven month extension.

After this yearlong effort failed and the US and Iran remain far apart, is it time for the US and the Obama adminsitration to alter their priorities in terms of foreign policy?

Should this issue take a back seat to the emerging ISIS threats and other middle east conflicts?

How does the Republican victory in the midterm election influence US foreign policy targets? Is the Obama administration going to make any sort of changes?

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Jacob Huth said...

While this is certainly cause for some dismay, I do not think this is a turning point to shift priorities in terms of foreign policy. In other words, although failure to achieve cut back on Iran's nuclear program may be discouraging, failure here is not reason enough to abandon any hope of getting Iran to do so. The middle east in particular does have a lot of things that may cause unease, as you mentioned ISIS, as well as ongoing struggles within Israel. This is not to mention all the other foreign policy issues such as our diplomacy with China. In short, there are a lot of things to worry about, but this is a major goal for good reasons. Nuclear proliferation is terrible. I doubt that the Republican victory in the midterms will hold much bearing on what the President decides to do at this point. To some degree because I think Republicans would agree that our issues with Iran are incredibly important, and if this is not the case, simply because Obama is already in his second term and does not need to worry as much about partisan squabbling.

Catherine van Blommestein said...

Iran continues to be a threat. Clearly by Khamenei’s statement to his people, he has no intention of dismantling his nuclear weapons program. Iran has a history of radical behavior (i.e. Iranian Hostage Crisis). This is an unstable region, which promotes great risk given the capability of being given nuclear weapons. In my opinion, the rest of the world, including NATO, needs to push for the dismantling of the nuclear weapons. My hope is that the Republican Party will work with President Obama to ask NATO and the rest of the world for help. Clearly, time is of the essence in this matter because as more time goes by the bigger the threat Iran will become; this issue should not be pushed back despite other recent issues. Since we are dealing with ISIS, it makes this nuclear issue even more urgent because of the possibility that ISIS can infiltrate Iran and take over the nuclear program.