Reaching out to Iran must not mean appeasing

U.S. diplomats are scheduled to meet one-on-one with officials from Iran today, during a much broader discussion in Switzerland, over the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

We hope the talks prove fruitful, but there’s not a lot of reason for optimism.

Thirty years of discussions with Iran and economic sanctions against that country — dating back to the Carter administration — have done little to appease the Islamic rulers’ desire to obtain nuclear weapons for Iran.

Beyond that, the lead Iranian negotiator has already made it clear he wants the talks to go beyond the nuclear issue. He wants to discuss the U.S. fight against terrorists in Afghanistan and potential reform of the United Nations.

Expect U.S. support for Israel and that nation’s right to exist to also come up, since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already proclaimed Thursday’s talks “a test to measure the extent of sincerity and commitment of some countries to law and justice.” Ahmadinejad is a notorious opponent of Israel.

President Barack Obama and his diplomats face difficult decisions regarding Iran. No one wants to see that country develop nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking Israel and even Europe, as it seems intent on doing.

But sanctions have had little effect and military options are limited, especially with support by American citizens for the war in Afghanistan dwindling rapidly.

Still, when they meet with Iranian representatives today, U.S. diplomats must be tough. They must make it clear this country is not prepared to sacrifice its friends or give up military options entirely in order to pass Ahmadinejad’s “test.”

Appeasement has never been effective in dealing with despots.


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