Iran's ruling clerics finally are interested in negotiating with President Barack Obama over the country's nuclear program because they think they can exploit the president's weak position, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial
"Fresh from their ally Bashar Assad's diplomatic victory in Damascus, they now see an opening to liberate themselves from western pressure too," the Journal said Sunday.
"They're hoping an eager President Obama will ease sanctions in return for another promise of WMD disarmament."
The Journal cautioned against falling under the spell of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's moderate tone
, noting that Iran "has rolled out other presidents who turned out either to have no power or to be false fronts to beguile the West."
The editorial also questioned whether Rouhani himself really has changed his own views from the days when he was Tehran's "nuclear envoy in the mid-2000s when Iran accelerated its nuclear-weapons program.
"It's doubtful they've had a come-to-Allah moment on nukes," the Journal said of Rouhani and Iran's supreme religious leaders.
The only "likely reason they've finally decided to answer Mr. Obama's overtures is because they see an America in retreat and eager for a nuclear deal," the newspaper added.
Obama wants a deal, the Journal continued, if for no other reason simply to prove his past proclamation that the "the tide of war is receding" in the Middle East.
Iran also realizes the American public wants no part of a war and that even some Republican leaders have turned isolationist, the Journal editorial noted.
"Iran's diplomatic goals are obvious: break its international isolation and lift the sanctions in exchange for a promise not to build a nuclear weapon, even as it retains its ability to build one at a moment's notice," the Journal said.
That can't be allowed to happen, the Journal added.
"If true global security is Mr. Obama's goal, then at a bare minimum any deal would have to halt Iran's enrichment of uranium, remove the already enriched uranium from the country, close all nuclear sites, and provide for robust monitoring anytime and anywhere," the editorial continued.
"Anything less would be a mirage . . . A negotiation that dismantles Iran's nuclear program would be a great step forward, but a deal that promises peace while letting Iran stay poised on the edge of becoming a nuclear power would endanger the world."
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