Nuclear crisis

The Bush administration’s smart diplomacy over Iran seems to be bearing fruit already. The administration has already strengthened its hand with European allies, Russia and China. Support from all of these would be needed for any successful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the new approach last week, the Russians, Chinese, Europeans and Americans quickly followed up with agreement on a new tactical approach. It would, for now, suspend discussions of UN Security Council sanctions and instead offer a jointly agreed set of incentives aimed at persuading Tehran to suspend nuclear work and come to the bargaining table. If Iran spurns that conciliatory approach, US is sure to put sanctions back on the international agenda.

Tehran would not be giving up any rights by suspending enrichment-related activities. It has already done so twice before. Many other countries with the same legal right to enrichment have chosen not to engage in problematic activities. There is only one resolution worth talking about — a commitment by Iran not to develop the capacity to build nuclear weapons. If this comes about through incentives, punishments or combination of the two does not matter much, so long as it comes about. — The New York Times