Asymmetrical Diplomacy


Former weapons inspector David Albright finds that the announcement of a nuclear deal "provides no reason to stop negotiating in the Security Council the imposition of sanctions on Iran." Joshua Keating adds:

Iran's apparent cooperation with the new agreement could make it less likely that Russia and China will support tougher sanctions against Iran in the U.N. security council and puts President Barack Obama in the awkward position of potentially rejecting a deal, nearly identical to one he negotiated months earlier.

And Michael Roston thinks he should reject it:

[B]y negotiating a deal with Brazil and Turkey, Iran is using the old tactic of packing the room with more parties, adding to the complexity of the negotiating process down the road. It’s no longer just the UN Security Council’s permanent members plus Germany jawing over Iran’s nuclear program – now we have to deal with political developments in Brazil and Turkey going forward.

Jeffrey Lewis grows weary:

I always feared the fuel swap was a waste of time it has too many moving parts and doesn’t get at the real problem of clandestine facilities. This scenario is the perfect illustration of that objection; I only wish I had seen it so clearly at the time. The “fuel swap” was intended to delay an Iranian “breakout” capability by a year or so. But Iran can enrich uranium quicker than we can arrange for it to be sent out of the country. After eight months of haggling, Iran has doubled its stockpile of LEU.

Max Fisher rounds up more reaction. My own view is that it is simply impossible for this kind of thing to be controlled by the major powers, let alone merely the US, any more. Ahmadi and Khameini are deploying asymmetrical diplomacy, along with proxy asymmetrical warfare, to great advantage. Short of military invasion and attack - unthinkable in its consequences for a wider global war, Iran will become a nuclear power soon enough. Our task is to figure how to minimize the damage to the region and to the opposition within Iran. I.e. containment.

(Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty.)