The New York Times and Natanz: A study in contrasts

The radio was on as I was reading the New York Times Editorial Board's opinion titled "'Maximum Pressure' on Iran Has Failed."  A return to the nuclear deal is the first step out of the "morass" that shills for the return to Obama's Iran deal, mischaracterized as an "agreement to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully" rather than a devil's bargain to let Iran have the atom bomb in exchange for not doing it during Obama administration.  As I heard the word "Iran" coming from the radio, the competition between hearing and sight was, for a moment, won by hearing.

The news on the radio was in sharp contrast to what I was reading: apparently, something happened to electric power at the Natanz nuclear enrichment site, which, just a day before, had witnessed the grand opening of Iran's brand-new, state-of-the-art uranium enrichment centrifuge cascade, presided over by Iran's "moderate" president, Rouhani.  The extent of damage, if any, was unclear from the news reports like this one or that posted later in the day by the New York Times itself — but if this was not an accident, than we have on display two very different approaches to dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In this study in contrasts, the Times Editorial Board exemplifies the ever attempted, invariably failing approach of dealing with bullies by acknowledging the legitimacy of their grievances and bowing to their demands in the hope for reciprocal moderation on their part, while events at Natanz revealed the actions of someone not exactly convinced that appeasement works, taking a more confrontational approach.

While the finger-pointing at Israeli cyber-attack started immediately, it may well have been an American action aimed at reducing Iranian leverage during negotiations.  A cyber-attack can be launched from anywhere, and removing some Iranian bargaining chips from the negotiating table in Vienna may actually help Biden's efforts to get back into the deal.

Whatever actually happened at Natanz, and whoever was behind it, the so-far mysterious power outage is a reminder that Obama-style appeasement of the ayatollahs is not the only way of dealing with Iran — and, moreover, that appeasing Iran is not the only way of doing diplomacy.  Irrespective of who caused the Natanz outage, it repudiated those behind the Times' persistent defeatism and its shrill and deceptive advocacy of appeasing the ayatollahs.

Image: N.Y. Times.