Planet News Views

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Analysis: U.S. Diplomacy and Iran


By Scott McLean

During last week's press conference, President Bush was asked by reporters about Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons and what would be done to stop it.

The White House released transcripts of the press conference to the media. The president addressed concerns over Iran developing nuclear weapons, spoke about diplomacy to prevent that from happening, and downplayed rumors of possible military action against Iran.

The president called those rumors "wild speculation", which he said "happens quite frequently here in the nation's capital."

"The doctrine of prevention is to work together to prevent the Iranians from having a nuclear weapon. I know -- I know here in Washington prevention means force. It doesn't mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy," President Bush said.

The word "necessarily" doesn't typically make people nervous, but in this context, placed at the end of the sentence, would tend to imply that prevention could include the use of force.

"U.S. National Security Strategy 2006", as made public by the White House on March 16, outlines a comprehensive approach to protecting the United States from terrorism.

A key area of the security strategy is entitled "Prevent Our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)".

Within that section of the document is the following wording of a first-strike option: "If necessary, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur."

The option for a military strike against Iran and the threatening remarks by Iran's President, when taken together, cause great concern a war and not diplomacy will take place.

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