Even with the so-called “charm offensive” of Iran’s newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell his country is serious about not pursuing nuclear weapons. Ken Pollack, a former CIA analyst, has written a book entitled, “Unthinkable: Iran, The Bomb and American Strategy”. Even though this self-described hawk is against a preemptive strike against Iran by the United States and even more so by Israel, Pollack has absolutely no doubt Iran’s nuclear ambitions are all about weapons. The theme of his book is about the containment of a nuclear Iran, not its prevention.
Meanwhile, two journalists I greatly respect, Charlie Rose of CBS and David Ignatius of The Washington Post, have jumped on the Rouhani bandwagon. It is eminently instructive to witness how official Iran tried to backtrack on Rouhani’s words stating that the obvious: the Holocaust actually happened and was reprehensible. And yet Mr. Rose and Mr. ignatius somehow feel something may have changed with Iran. I will tell you what’s changed. The sanctions are hurting Iran deeply. Frankly, another couple of years of these sanctions and it’s not difficult to imagine a popular uprising trying to overthrow the powers that be. You negotiate from a position of strength and there has to be absolute clarity that a country denying the Holocaust is a danger to all of humanity. This is non-negotiable.