"A panel of former senior American officials and outside experts, including several who recently left the Obama administration, issued a surprisingly critical assessment of American diplomacy toward Iran on Wednesday, urging President Obama to become far more engaged and to reconsider the likelihood that harsh sanctions will drive Tehran to concessions.
In a report issued by the Iran Project, the former diplomats and experts suggested that the sanctions policy, rather than bolstering diplomacy, may be backfiring. As the pressure has increased, the group concluded, sanctions have 'contributed to an increase in repression and corruption within Iran' and 'may be sowing the seeds of long-term alienation between the Iranian people and the United States.'
The critique comes as both Israel and Congress are urging the administration to go in the opposite direction, to put a sharp time limit on negotiations and, if necessary, to go beyond the financial and oil sanctions that have caused a tremendous drop in the value of the Iranian currency and sent inflation soaring.
'I fundamentally believe that the balance between sanctions and diplomacy has been misaligned,' said Thomas R. Pickering, who was one of the State Department’s highest-ranking career diplomats and whom the department has called on to head up important investigations, including one into the death last fall of the American ambassador to Libya.
In an interview, Mr. Pickering also contended that Mr. Obama should review the covert program against Iran — which has included computer sabotage of its nuclear facilities — to 'stop anything that is peripheral, that is not buying us much time' in slowing Iran’s progress."
Yeah, right. Drop the sanctions, and expect the Iranians to gratefully relinquish their nuclear weapons development program. Given the mullahs' underlying humanitarianism over the past several decades, as reflected by the stoning of women, hanging of homosexuals, persecution of Baha'is, oppression of Kurds, repression of Christians, mistreatment of Sunni Muslims, arrest of journalists, and torture of regime opponents, they are sure to respond kindly to such a magnanimous gesture from Washington.
What are these "experts" in Washington smoking?
As for Pickering, Tom co-authored a March 20, 2008 article in The New York Review of Books entitled, "A Solution for the US–Iran Nuclear Standoff" (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21112), which begins:
"The recent National Intelligence Estimate's conclusion that Tehran stopped its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003, together with the significant drop in Iranian activity in Iraq, has created favorable conditions for the US to hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program."
"Tehran stopped its efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003"? As we all know by now, this "conclusion" amounted to pure rubbish.
"Favorable conditions to hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program"? Years of negotiation with Tehran under the Obama administration have led nowhere.
If you think North Korea has turned the Far East upside down, wait and see what happens if Iran is allowed to build its first atomic bomb.