Melanie Phillips has a couple of posts on the Iranian Charade, the "disgusting abdication of moral responsibility being displayed by Europe over Iran's race to acquire nuclear weapons" (doesn't mince her words, Melanie). After quoting Michael Ledeen and his contemptuous dismissal of European "appeasement", she concludes:
But what way might Bush actually find? Ledeen reiterates the need to help defeat the mullocracy in Tehran. But that might well take too long -- if it ever happens anyway. So if Bush isn't going to wait for Iran to present him with the bomb tied up in blue ribbon, what's he going to do? Does he actually have a strategy? Or is he, like Europe, just waiting for something to turn up?
So what does she propose as an alternative to this disgusting abdication of moral responsibility? An invasion, on the lines of Iraq, to overthrow the mullahs? No one thinks that would be anything less than disastrous. Surgical strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities? It's been often enough pointed out that this is almost certainly not possible: for a start it's inconceivable that the Iranians will not have anticipated this and spread their facilities accordingly. Ledeen believes that the craven Europeans are quite prepared for Iran to join the nuclear club. So, as it happens, are some Israelis. The only other option is to press for sanctions, via a Security Council resolution, but that wouldn't make it past Russia or new friend China.
For the moment the way it's being played, with the European three playing good cops to the American bad cop, is about as promising an approach as we can hope for. For sure Iran is being cynical about the negotiations, but that doesn't mean we should stop talking to them.
Update: it's gratifying to see the level of maturity that the Iranians are demonstrating in their diplomacy:
A top Iranian official has claimed a "great victory" over the US after the UN said it would not punish Iran's nuclear activities with sanctions.
Hassan Rohani said Iran would never give up its right to nuclear power.
He stressed its freeze in uranium enrichment was only temporary during talks with European countries.
The UN atomic agency IAEA has welcomed Iran's offer to freeze enrichment in a statement on Monday that did not mention any threat of future sanctions.
Washington had been pushing for Iran to be censured by the UN Security Council.
Mr Rohani said the "whole world had turned down America's calls".
"We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the US. And that is a great victory," Mr Rohani said.
He added that the US representative at the IAEA meeting in Vienna "was enraged and in tears, and everybody said that the Americans had failed and we had won".