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Obama's options to avert war with Iran

As the nuclear standoff builds to a late-September deadline, the US must maneuver as well as Kennedy did during the 1962 Cuban crisis.

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During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy made a secret deal with the Soviet Union: He would remove US missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Kremlin pulling its missiles from Cuba. A war was averted.

Is President Obama heading toward a similar "crisis" – and secret compromise – with Iran?

Events appear to be heading quickly toward confrontation between Washington and Tehran. Consider these recent signals:

Facing an Obama-set deadline of late September to suspend its nuclear program in return for substantial talks or face tougher economic sanctions, Iran gave a weak response Tuesday. It said in a vague official memo that talks with Western powers are possible but only on broad international issues. Its nuclear program will continue.

The US and its partners in Europe were not impressed.

At the same time, the US announced Iran had achieved a "possible breakout capacity" to develop bomb-grade material from its enrichment of uranium – quickly, if it chose to.

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