"Mr. Obama has said that he will reach out to Iran for direct talks, and last week the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that Iran was ready. The two nations have not spoken directly since the Islamic Revolution in Iran 30 years ago." (N.Y. Times)
"Consequently, Tehran is once again attempting a strategy that has proven successful for them over the past three decades: bait-and-switch. In other words, Iran will start negotiating. The act of negotiation by itself is a victory for Tehran, as it forces the West to drop all of their demands before coming to the table. A few weeks or months of negotiations give the ayatollahs time to find a way out." (Middle East Times)
This is the quandary of opening a dialogue with the leaders of Iran. Talks in good faith would be terrific but cannot be one sided. We can not allow ourselves to be used as pawns by the Iranian government who will no doubt say and promise one thing and do another. Now one argument is that the ordinary citizens of Iran have become disillusioned with the government and want change. Can they force change? Maybe, but doubtful. How long do we wait for the change to happen? Conventional wisdom, or at least my wisdom, would say that we need that to happen before Iran has the nuclear weapons making capability.
Peaceful solutions and negotiations are always better than military confrontation for a variety of reasons, but you can not allow the charade of peaceful negotiations to replace the need for action. Negotiations cannot be used to provide cover for inaction.
A North Korean Comparison
"...growing international pressure on Pyongyang to back out of apparent plans to carry out a test launch of a missile believed capable of reaching U.S. territory..." (Fox News 2.16.09)
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton said told reporters aboard her plane that North Korea needs to live up to commitments to dismantle its nuclear programs, saying Washington is willing to normalize ties with it in return for nuclear disarmament. "The North Koreans have already agreed to dismantling," she said. "We expect them to fulfill the obligations that they entered into." (Fox News)
This is a serious statement but one that I am sure that hardly has the North Korean dictator quaking in his boots. She states what Washington is willing to do in return for disarmament, but what exactly will Washington do in the likely event that North Korea does not live up to it's end of the bargain.
Warnings without fear of the potential ramifications are worse than no warnings at all.