Dempsey offers cautious tone on Iran

UN inspectors in Teheran for talks

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20 פב' 2012
Dempsey offers cautious tone on Iran

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” over the weekend, declaring that “I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us. I think that the economic sanctions and the international cooperation that we’ve been able to gather around sanctions is beginning to have an effect. I mean, fundamentally, we have to be prepared. And that includes, for the most part, at this point, being prepared defensively. Asked if Iranian leaders were acting rationally, Dempsey replied: “We are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor. And it’s for that reason, I think, that we think the current path we’re on is the most prudent path at this point.” Dempsey gave the interview even as US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for talks focused on Iran. British Foreign Secretary William Hague added his own similar warning in an interview on Sunday with the BBC.

Hague warned that if Iran’s renegade nuclear program proceeds, “either, they [Iran] will be attacked, and there will be a war, or there would be a cold war, in which Iran for the long term would be subject to very intensive economic sanctions. They would find that other nations in their region developed nuclear regions, and they would be in permanent standoff with those countries…like the Cold War, but without many of the safeguards against accidents and misunderstandings that we had in the Cold War.”

Meanwhile, UN nuclear inspectors headed to Iran on Sunday for talks.

“We hope to have a couple of good and constructive days in Tehran,” Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said at the Vienna airport, as the five-member team prepared to depart. “The highest priority remains, of course, the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.” Another envoy in the delegation frankly admitted “I’m still pessimistic that Iran will demonstrate the substantive cooperation necessary.”

“In these negotiations, we are looking for a way out of Iran’s current nuclear issue so that both sides win,” Iranian state television quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying on Sunday.

"I'm not optimistic that Iran will provide much more information because I think any honest answers to the IAEA's questions would confirm that Iran had been involved in weapons-related development work and Iran wouldn't want to admit that for fear of being penalised," Mark Fitzpatrick of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies told AFP.


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