US Envoy: Talks Don’t Mean US Won’t Attack Iran

Days Ahead of Baghdad Summit, Threats Return

Recent reports have the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran going extremely well, and some officials have even expressed a belief that a negotiated settlement was very possible. If you’re an opponent on a US war on Iran, this would be a very good thing.

But if you’re an Obama Administration official, its time to start throwing out threats, as US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro did today, insisting that the ongoing negotiations didn’t mean the US wasn’t going to just attack Iran some day, and claiming that the military option was “ready” to be executed at any given time.

Officials say that Shapiro’s comments were made in a “closed meeting” in Israel, and he didn’t expect them to be made public. But while the possibility of war is almost always couched as higher when an official is talking in, to, or about Israel, it is hard to imagine that his off the record comments weren’t a sincere belief.

US officials have constantly been the potential spoiler in the P5+1 talks with Iran, scheduled to resume next week in Baghdad. The administration’s goal seems to be to see the talks fail in such a way that Russia and China grudgingly accept the US calls for a war, but throwing out overt threats on the eve of talks is counterproductive to that end, and will just convince those diplomats not enamoured of the war that negotiations could be successful, if the US were at least a little less pig-headed about it.


Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.