A Long Way From the Point of No Return With Iran

We’re nowhere near the point of no return. Far from it. Jeff Goldberg laid out the worst-case scenario, but not necessarily the most likely. His exhaustive reporting also assembled part of the picture, albeit a pivotal part, but by no means the entire intricate mosaic.

The United States and the many other parties now consumed with Iran’s controversial nuclear program have at least a year of intense diplomacy — and possibly much longer — before they even consider military options. And that assumes diplomacy totally collapses, the Iranians can be clearly blamed, and reliable intelligence proves Tehran’s program has crossed a critical threshold.

With Iran, the state-of-play is rarely that straightforward. First, Iranians are masters at brinksmanship. Diplomacy always gets dragged out, and even negotiations that appear dead have a way of miraculously reviving — like an Iranian merchant chasing a customer down the dusty alleyways of Tehran’s Grand Bazaar to renegotiate a price and avoid losing the sale.

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