|Smooth sailing ahead for nuclear ambitions|
"All Options Are On the Table" - White House Cuts Persian-Gulf Carriers in Half.(IWB) In his first news conference after re-election, President Obama said there was still time for a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear program and that Iran could enjoy “peaceful nuclear power” if it meets international obligations.
Diplomacy has failed and international sanctions, though having some effect, have not persuaded the radicals ruling Iran to stop their illicit nuclear program. The economic screws must be tightened.
Iranian leaders did not hide their satisfaction in Mr. Obama’s re-election and the prospect of more negotiations, which, in their view, will buy them more time to develop nuclear weapons. Professor Pirooz Mojtahedzade, who teaches political geography at Tehran University, said in a recent interview, “Perhaps one reason for Obama’s success in his re-election campaign was his opposition to the warmongering Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] of Israel, which officially eliminated the effect of the Zionist lobby in presidential elections, and the result of this is that the Israel lobby will not have much effect on U.S. politics in the next four years.
“I have no doubt that the U.S. desires negotiations. We must remember the promises by Obama in his first four years to change U.S. politics internally and externally to address international matters peacefully, including Iran’s nuclear energy program through negotiations and peaceful means,” Mr. Mojtahedzade said. His thoughts were echoed in several other analyses in Iranian media. One said America is in no way looking for a confrontation with Iran and, in fact, has such a confrontation as its red line. Therefore, it’s only natural that the Islamic republic is aware of this limited U.S. strategy and will benefit from it, the analysis argued.
The Navy said Wednesday it will temporarily shrink its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area from two to one because of a mechanical problem with the USS Nimitz, a carrier based in Everett, Wash.
The Nimitz was scheduled to deploy in January to relieve the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, but that will be put off until summer in order to complete repairs to its propulsion system. The problem was discovered while the ship was doing pre-deployment maneuvers.
As a result, the Navy made the unusual decision to bring the Eisenhower home to Norfolk, Va., in December and resurface its flight deck so it can go back to the Gulf area in February and remain for four months. That means that in December and January the USS John C. Stennis will be the only carrier in that area, although there are other naval forces there, including Marines aboard a three-ship contingent led by the USS Peleliu.The decision to leave a two-month gap in the normal two-carrier Navy presence was approved Tuesday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, officials said. The carriers are a key feature of the U.S. military strategy for the Mideast; they are considered important in deterring Iran, for example.Read the full story here.