No US deadline for progress in Iran talks
Check that. The administration says that they are not going to "wait forever" before admitting defeat in engaging the Iranians on their nuclear program.
Swell. I'm sure Tehran is quaking in its sandals at that one. The point being, the Obama administration is moving quite inexorably toward an acceptance of the Iranian nuclear program and prefer to deal with the consequences of that fact rather than trying to prevent it in the first place.
David Gollust at Voice of America reports on the State Department briefing:
The comments here came in response to a report by the Wall Street Journal newspaper Thursday that the administration and European allies have set a target for early October for determining whether engagement with Iran is making progress.
The U.N. Security Council has approved three sanctions resolutions against Iran for its refusal to halt a uranium enrichment drive U.S. officials believe is weapons related.
Russia and China have resisted additional sanctions. The Wall Street Journal report said U.S. officials believe those two powers might be more amenable to tougher sanctions if there is no breakthrough before world leaders convene for the new U.N. General Assembly in late September.
At a news briefing, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly insisted however that there is no fixed timetable.
"We're not setting any deadline. And we're not interested in setting any kind of specific or even notional time-line," said Kelly. We are of course monitoring very closely what the Iranians are doing, assessing progress. But we don't have any time-line. We're not going to let this string out forever of course, but we don't have any timetable on it."
So what we have is an open ended commitment to talking to the Iranians while they build their enrichment capability as fast as they can. No plan to add to the milquetoast sanctions that aren't doing much good anyway. No plan to take steps with the EU that would make life very difficult for the mullahs like trying to cut off imports of refined petroleum products such as gasoline that Iran needs to keep the wheels moving.
There is a possibility that France and Germany may put pressure on Obama to establish some kind of deadline, if only because Sarkozy and Merkel are a lot more realistic in assessing the Iranian threat than our starry eyed president. But we've already abandoned the military option and warned Israel not to attack. One wonders what leverage we could possibly have that the Iranians would feel a need to compromise.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky