We are not advocating strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. But the public signs of the administration’s squishiness about military options are worrisome because of the lack of progress on its two-track strategy of offering negotiations and threatening sanctions. A year-long attempt at engagement failed; now the push for sanctions is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Though administration officials say they have made progress in overcoming resistance from Russia and China, it appears a new U.N. sanctions resolution might require months more of dickering. Even then it might only be a shell intended to pave the way for ad hoc actions by the United States and European Union, which would require further diplomacy.
Yet the notion that the hard-line Iranian clique now in power would ever negotiate in good faith is far-fetched. More likely — and desirable — would be a victory by the opposition Green movement in Iran’s ongoing domestic power struggle.