The opening of the 64th UN General Assembly this week marked an informal deadline set by the international community for Iran to engage in meaningful negotiations over its defiant nuclear program.
Back in July, the G-8 nations announced that the start of the General Assembly on September 15 "would be an occasion for taking stock of the situation in Iran."
Nearly everyone in the international community understood that to be a hard deadline for Iran to shape up and respond positively to offers for serious talks by US President Barack Obama and his European allies. Most expected that if Iran failed to accept the offer and meet the deadline, Obama and the EU would be forced to impose harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
But the deadline has passed, and there is no talk of upping pressure on Iran. Israeli experts fear that vague statements from Tehran in recent days that the Iranian regime is ready for talks on some level are being used as an excuse by the Obama Administration to not escalate punitive measures.
With Glyn Davies, the US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), acknowledging last week that Iran can probably already build at least one nuclear bomb, Israel is further concerned that the Obama Administration has already accepted that Iran will go nuclear. In such a scenario, Washington believes it can rely on the same kind of deterrence policies that kept the Soviet Union at bay for decades.
In a position paper addressing the issue, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold warned that approach would be a mistake. "Iran is a true revolutionary power whose aspirations extend into the oil-producing states," wrote Gold. To say nothing of the Iranian leadership's religious beliefs that destroying Israel will hasten the coming of their Muslim messiah.