Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made statements at a joint news conference in Japan on Iran’s willingness to compromise on its nuclear weapons program.
Secretary Kerry declared that it was necessary that “actions speak louder than words” when discussing the upcoming actions of Iran on its nuclear program. Secretary Kerry asserted that it would be necessary for Iran to not only discontinue the development of its nuclear weapons, but also reduce its capacity to retain a “breakout” capability – having produced a sufficient quantity of highly-enriched uranium to fuel a nuclear weapon – as well.
Secretary Hagel also weighed in and reiterated Secretary Kerry’s point by saying, “I think we are wise, if the Iranians have reached out – which they have – to, in a very clear-eyed way – and we are – test their actions.” The U.S. would be naive to dismiss Iran’s proposal, but it would not fall victim to a potential ruse.
“Engagement is not appeasement,” said Secretary Hagel. By saying this, Secretary Hagel indicated that he does not want the U.S. to echo the actions of Prime Minister Chamberlain in WWII; instead, the U.S. wants to engage in Iran’s diplomatic bid, but continue to evaluate the impact of applied pressure that sanctions have had on Iran’s economy and remain steadfast on U.S. policy objectives.
Looking at the historical distrust between the United States and Iran, many are skeptical at the prospect of any sort of substantive headway on Iran’s nuclear program. Mark Twain is correct when he said: “actions speak louder than words, but not nearly enough.”