Fletcher in the News

President Obama's Latest Take on Iran's Nuclear Program Significant: Prof. William Martel

Boston Herald

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Obama’s hint means Iran action likely

President Obama’s new hawkish pledge to Israelis that with Iran apparently on the brink of acquiring a nuclear weapon, he doesn’t want to “cut it too close,” could be setting the stage for military action, experts told the Herald.

“Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” Obama told an Israeli TV station in an interview, which aired yesterday ahead of the president’s planned visit. “So when I’m consulting with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: ‘If we can resolve it diplomatically, that is a more lasting solution. But if not, I continue to keep all options on the table.’ ” …

… The topic of Iran will likely dominate the conversation during Obama’s three-day visit to Israel set to begin Wednesday, according to William Martel, international security professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He said Obama’s new stance could also pressure the Iranians into meaningful negotiations with the United States.

“All evidence has pointed to the fact that Iran is moving relentlessly toward nuclear weapons. But it is a critical shift in the debate for the president to come out and put a timeline on when Iran might develop nuclear weapons,” Martel said. “It could definitely set the stage for military action if the U.S. is willing to do this, but I’m not clear we are willing to do that.”

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