The man who was until just recently US President Barack Obama's top advisor on the Iran nuclear crisis says there is little-to-no chance that Western diplomatic efforts will actually prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining atomic weapons.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Gary Samore, who is a top political science expert at Harvard University, said the West simply hasn't given Iran enough reason to feel that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions.
That is precisely the criticism that has been coming out of Jerusalem for years. Western diplomatic efforts have lacked the kind of teeth necessary to convince Iran that it's simply not worth pushing forward.
Samore noted that the type of Iranian concessions that would truly put a nuclear bomb out of reach - the dismantling of various nuclear facilities - are being outright rejected by Tehran.
At the same time, Western powers now see themselves bound to the diplomatic process so long as Iran remains at the negotiating table, even if the Iranians are rejected all serious proposals.
This process, Samore explained, could last for years, until such a time as Iran feels it is in a position to simply walk away and test a nuclear warhead.
To be fair, Samore doesn't believe anything will prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons short of a large-scale ground invasion by America and its Western allies. And that, of course, is almost certain not to happen. Anything else would simply delay the inevitable.
And delay might be the only play the West has under its current leadership.
Samore believes Obama and European leaders would settle for a deal that set Iran's nuclear program back far enough that it would need a full year to field a nuclear weapon if and when it decided to do so. A bit of a buffer that would allow Iran's enemies to prepare should the Islamic Republic become too belligerent.
But, with the kid-gloves approach Obama and the West are currently taking, Iran is far from being compelled to accept even that kind of arrangement.
Read the whole interview over at Bloomberg.