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President of National Iranian American Council Calls For Shift in Iran Policy in Wake of North Korean Nuclear Test

Statement by Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council

Washington should not treat negotiations as a concession

President Bush's policy failure with North Korea should prompt a change in his Administration's stance toward Iran. Hawk engagement with North Korea has been a disaster because it treats negotiations as a concession rather than a diplomatic tool. If President Bush continues on the same road with Iran, he may eventually get the same bad result.

Hawk engagement creates incentives for Washington's adversaries to behave as provocatively as possible to force the United States to the negotiating table.

This policy has been equally unsuccessful with Iran even though Iran is a very different from North Korea. There is no conclusive evidence of an Iranian weapons program, and the Iranian leadership knows that weaponization would significantly undermine its position in the region.

The continuation of hawk engagement with Iran may, however, result in significantly more provocative actions by Tehran in order to get Washington to the negotiating table.

Evidence of this already exists. While Iran offered the Europeans a two-year suspension of enrichment in January 2006, today it calls any halt in enrichment "absolutely unacceptable."

This negative trend can only be reversed if the Bush Administration begins treating negotiations as an effective tool of diplomacy rather than a sign of weakness.

To avoid another potential North Korea in the future, direct talks with Iran must begin today. Otherwise, the failure with North Korea may be repeated with Iran.

... Payvand News - 10/11/06 ... --

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