Monday, April 30, 2012

reduced likelihood of war with Iran

There's encouraging news for a change. As the NYTimes reports, U.S. officials and some other analysts think that the renewed talks with Iran have lowered the risks of near-term military action.  This is the latest in a series of reports that the supreme leader could agree to forego nuclear weaponization in return for a  civil nuclear program and that the United States could allow partial enrichment of uranium -- to 5% -- subject to international verification. Sounds like a deal to me -- but of course there still has to be agreement on the details.

Another indicator of a changed atmosphere is the situation in Israel. Two prominent retired officials last week disagreed with the Netanyahu-Barak line that Iran is irrational and the threat of an Iranian bomb is near. Now the government is talking about near-term elections, which would presumably put military action on hold for a while. I think it's also significant that former prime minister Olmert went public with his criticism of the Netanyahu government's position. His speech to American Jews in New York drew boos from the audience, thus exposing divisions among U.S. supporters of Israel. Such divisions make it harder for the Israeli government to avoid U.S. government pressures.

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