Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York Monday speaking at
the United Nations for a nuclear nonproliferation conference. He has accused
the United States of neglecting its international nuclear commitments
and trying to shift the focus elsewhere; the U.S. delegation responded
by walking out
. But as is typically the
case with high-level international conferences, there's much more at
stake than meets the eye, with both the U.S. and Iran advancing larger strategic agendas. Here's what they're looking for.
- Showdown at Turtle
Bay The Washington Post's Mary Beth Sheridan
and Colum Lynch call this "a showdown between Iran and the United
States, with each side jockeying for allies in the escalating dispute
over the Islamic republic's nuclear program. ... the Obama
administration sees the conference as a crucial opportunity to advance
ideas to strengthen the fraying treaty, such as punishing nuclear
cheaters and further regulating the supply of nuclear fuel. Iran is
expected to block such steps. Any decision by the conference must be
reached by consensus."
- Fears of MidEast Nuclear Arms Race
The New York Times' William Broad and
David Sanger think that Obama is worried about much more than just
Iranian weapons. "The Obama administration has been mounting a
country-by-country campaign to go beyond the treaty and ensure that
Iran's push toward atomic mastery does not ignite a regional nuclear
arms race. In recent months, diplomats have been holding meetings in
Washington and shuttling to the Middle East in pursuit of agreements
that will let countries develop nuclear power while relinquishing the
right to make atomic fuel that could be turned into bombs."
Late, It's Happening Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bush-era
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton fumes, "It is hard
to conclude anything except that the Obama administration is resigned to
Iran possessing nuclear weapons. ... Even if containment and deterrence
might be more successful against Iran than just suggested, nuclear
proliferation doesn't stop with Tehran. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and
perhaps others will surely seek, and very swiftly, their own nuclear
weapons in response. Thus, we would imminently face a multipolar nuclear
Middle East waiting only for someone to launch first or transfer
weapons to terrorists."
- U.S. Should 'Cut a Deal' With Iran
The Christian Science
Monitor urge, "ultimately, if President Obama is to achieve his
grand goal of a world without [nuclear] weapons, he will need eventually
to cut a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran and its defiant
leaders." They call Obama's planned middle east nuclear security summit
"a critical recognition by Obama that his denuclearization effort first
requires more active diplomacy toward peace between rivals in the
- Ahmadinejad Laments Nonproliferation Failures The
told reporters, "The biggest threat to the world today is the
production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. ... Unfortunately the
[International Atomic Energy Agency] in the past 40 years has not been
successful in its mission. We have no disarmament or nonproliferation
and some countries have even procured the nuclear bomb during this
period." That's a likely reference to Israel's nuclear program. Of
course, he also claimed that the U.S. "is the root of world terrorism."
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