The Iranians may have announced the Fardo enrichment as a means of underscoring the urgency of restarting nuclear talks, some Iran analysts say. But they add that the intensifying brinkmanship on each side could also make chances of a return to diplomacy that much more remote.
John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and undersecretary of state for arms control and international security under President George W. Bush, says the Iranians are testing Western powers’ resolve to stop their advance towards developing a bomb.
He also says that under President Obama, the purpose of ever-stronger sanctions on the Iranian economy has morphed from stopping Iran’s nuclear progress to pressuring Iran to return to the negotiating table – a weakening of objectives that Mr. Bolton says is not lost on the Iranians.
But advocates of a diplomatic resolution to Iran’s nuclear defiance of the international community insist on the contrary that ever-tightening sanctions could doom the chances of negotiations resuming.
Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council in Washington, says that stronger sanctions are on the verge of becoming an end in themselves rather than a means to an end – in this case compelling Iran to negotiate a change in its nuclear program.
And if the European Union sticks to its plans to impose an oil embargo on Iran by the end of the month – the EU buys about one-fifth of Iran’s oil – the window for diplomacy is likely to close for good, Mr. Parsi adds.