At first glance, Russia's current position on the Iranian nuclear crisis is quite controversial.
The international community should stand back and reflect on the lessons learned from the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) experience in implementing safeguards over the last decade, particularly in North Korea and Iran. Such review and reflection suggests that just when safeguards are getting better, the political will to use them effectively seems to be waning.
President Mahmoud Amadinejad of Iran sent a letter to President Bush raising questions about American "justice" and questioning whether the United States or Iran is more righteous. This letter should be answered in kind by the Bush administration. Unfortunately, there is likely to be no such reply.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent the following letter to President George Bush. The unorthodox letter contains no concrete diplomatic proposals, but it does suggest Ahmadinejad's confidence that by championing a moral, religious, political, and economic critique against U.S. ideology and policies he can tap populist passions swelling not only in the Middle East and other Muslim societies but also in Latin America. Ahmadinejad is inviting a contest over whether the positions he and Iran pursue are more just than those of the Bush Administration. The U.S. should not ignore this challenge, but rather take it head on. In the Foreign Affairs article, "Giving Justice Its Due," (July/August 2005), George Perkovich suggested some ways in which the U.S. could address growing international demands for justice to complement the "freedom doctrine." We have provided the full text of Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush. (Read More)
Martha Brill Olcott discusses U.S.-Azeri relations with NPR's Michelle Kelemen.
The US can ease or even end our dependency on oil, but it won't be easy. A program of drastic conservation is not a winning political program in a country built around cars, suburbs, and highways. That leaves another, even more unsavory alternative: The US can seek privileged access to the world oil supplies and prevent other countries from gaining similar access. That can lead to war.
Stronger diplomatic action on Iran depends heavily on the policies of Russia and China. The actions that either country takes next should be understood in light of their threat perceptions, economic interests, and the strength of the U.S.-French-German coalition.
The best estimates indicate that Iran is 5-10 years away from the ability to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon. But there are major uncertainties with these estimates. One worst-case scenario could have Iran with a nuclear bomb at the end of 2009, but that assumes that Iran does not encounter any of the technical problems that typically plague such programs.