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Staying the course on Iran and nukes

To the editor: Ray Takeyh conveys the view that a cagey Iran through the facade of negotiations continues its inexorable march to the bomb against a bumbling America blind to the reality. Rather than inexorable, Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons has proved to be one of the slowest and more incompetent efforts in history. ("Iran's vested interest in nuclear talks," Op-Ed, Nov. 11)

For the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, Israel and India, it was a matter of years to translate desire into a working weapon. Other countries such as North Korea and Pakistan took longer. But Iran has been at it for decades. The combination of sanctions, restraints in trade, threats, intelligence, assassination, sabotage, investigation and, yes, negotiations, coupled with Iran's own limitations, have worked.

Contrary to "expert" estimates beginning in the late 1990s that Iran would have the bomb in the next five years, it has not happened.

There is no inevitability that Iran will become a nuclear-armed nation as long as Washington and others remain diligent in efforts to impede it. One way to do so remains a very well crafted and enforceable negotiated international agreement.

Bennett Ramberg, Los Angeles

The writer served as a policy analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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