The ultimate goal of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, the next round of which commences in Moscow on June 18, has always been the same: Determining whether Iran is willing to accept that its nuclear program must be credibly limited in a way that precludes it from being able to turn civil nuclear power into nuclear weapons. The collective approach of the 5+1—the five permanent members of the U.N.
[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] As noted below, the Senate votes on President Obama’s jobs bill tonight. And although Democrats have more than 50 votes in their caucus, it’s not clear they’ll get 50 votes for this bill. President Obama takes a lot of grief for political timidity and, at least some of the time, he deserves it. But if Democrats can’t get 50 tonight, that’s not on him. In the last few weeks, he’s said all the right things and made all the right moves. And it still might not be enough. That’s the reality of our political system.
Most of the talk about Iran and the Wikileaks documents has centered around the revelation—hardly a surprise—that Arab states are wary of Iran’s nuclear program. This is indeed an important story: The depth of the fear from Egypt, Oman, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia is striking (in one document we learn that, in 2009, Saudi Arabia promised Morocco discounted oil if it joined in the effort to contain Iran).
A certain kind of liberalism familiar to readers of The New Republic has been stirring in, of all places, Germany and Austria. To be sure, it operates on the margins. And, yes, the impulse to appease, run for cover and all the rest lingers there as well. So, too, does the mixture of irritation, indifference, and even outright hostility to Israel.
Is the Green Movement finished? That is what the Iranian government wants the world to believe. And it has recently been trumpeting a few pieces of evidence to make its case. First came a statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi on New Year’s Eve, which offered five conditions for ending the current impasse.
On Friday, TNR Contributing Editor and Washington Times national security reporter Eli Lake published a blockbuster scoop about the National Iranian American Council, (NIAC), and it's founder, Trita Parsi. I recently wrote about Parsi's appearance at the J Street conference, where he waived away concerns about the Iranian regime's warnings about destroying Israel and compared such invocations to statements issued by the United States about Iran's nuclear program.
The Iranian regime has made headlines this week with its announcement that it will allow inspections into its recently discovered enrichment site in Qom, and its agreement, albeit ambiguously, to allow enrichment to be handled by Russia or France.
Last week, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States government can afford a civilian. Among the 16 awardees are truly great figures: breast cancer philanthropist Nancy Goodman Brinker, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.