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article imageOp-Ed: Iran has no intention of agreeing to nuclear deal

By Nathan Salant     Nov 24, 2014 in World
Vienna - It's hard to tell whether the failure of Western nations to convince Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program should be a source of mirth or concern.
It's easy to see why nations interested in peace would be concerned about another rogue state acquiring nuclear weapons — does anyone feel safer now that North Korea has added nuclear threats to its arsenal of conventional threats?
But what makes the whole thing seem funny is how Western nations, led by the United States but represented in negotiations by European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton, went into international talks with Iran thinking they could get Tehran to accept restrictions on its nuclear weapons development program.
It seems silly, thinking back on it now, but it's been obvious for years that Iran never intended to agree to anything significant, and was merely trying to buy time to finish its weapons research while easing the bite of Western economic sanctions.
Of course, we're thinking about it now, near the end of 2014, because the Ashton-negotiated interim accord reached famously with Iran last year is expiring and there still is no agreement to dismantle Iran's nuclear weapons program.
In fact, Iran still refuses even to acknowledge publicly that it will have to agree to do so.
That does not sound like a situation where an agreement is imminent, despite the enthusiastic support of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Rather, it sounds like Iran intends to play the negotiating game for as long as it can get away with it.
The U.S. and its allies really ought to understand that before they go back to Vienna, where their foreign ministers are meeting now, and come back with another meaningless "peace for our time" kind of deal.
Iran is now reportedly angling for another extension of the expiring deadline, and the parties are reportedly considering it.
But why? It's time to face the facts — the peace effort has failed, and it has failed because Iran is not really interested.
The United States and Israel need to again raise the possibility of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities at Natanz and Parchin, but this time to mean it.
As bad as that seems, it's obviously the only way to get Tehran's attention.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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