In the Arena

Good News on Iran Nukes

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The body language coming out of the first round of talks about Iran’s nuclear program is excellent. As David Ignatius writes today, we seem to be moving down a path toward a well-calibrated and sensible deal. And that should make everybody happy. But, of course, it won’t. The neoconservatives won’t like it, no matter what. They’ll say, you can’t trust Iran. They’ll say, we’ve been suckered. And they will have a point. So ongoing IAEA inspections of every aspect of the Iranian nuclear system will be a quietly crucial part of the deal. It is also important not to get too optimistic too quickly: the Iranians highly overvalue their ability as hagglers–just ask the Indians, Russians, Chinese and any other country that has tried to close a trade deal with them–and could easily haggle themselves off a cliff. But I suspect that the economic sanctions, patiently organized by the Obama Administration, have forced the Supreme Leader into a corner. If this deal is made, it will be a major diplomatic triumph, not just for Obama, but for the idea that America doesn’t need to go clumping around the world like a clumsy Goliath, that multilateral diplomatic and economic actions can sometimes lead to significant results. If this deal is made…