While many reasonably believed Kerry’s position signaled a new stance from the Obama administration, with the FT having earlier reported that such a change in policy was indeed under consideration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put the notion to rest in an interview over the weekend on Meet The Press.
“Our hope is — that’s why we’re engaged in the president’s policy of engagement toward Iran — is that Iran will understand why it is in their interest to go along with the consensus of the international community, which very clearly says you have rights and responsibilities. You have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil nuclear power. You do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon. You do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control.
David Gregory might have noted that international inspectors and the U.S. intelligence community do not believe Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, but he didn’t.
The sanctimony about the “international consensus” from an administration that continues to assert the right to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely without charge, meanwhile, is a bit rich, if to be expected. Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of the interview, however, was Clinton’s declaration that Iran has no right to have the “full enrichment” of uranium under its control — a position Kerry vehemently denounced in the interview with the FT as just more “bombastic diplomacy” and “wasted energy,” adding that Iran has “a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.” Though Kerry was referring to the Bush administration at the time, his remarks drive home the fact that the Obama administration is electing to continue some of the most-criticized policies of his predecessor, with Clinton outdoing even Condoleeza Rice in terms of her “altogether steelier and more terrifyingly hawkish persona.”