Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said this week that the Obama administration is hopeful for a nuclear deal with Iran, comparing talks with Tehran to Washington’s success earlier this year in getting Syria to begin dismantling its chemical arsenal.
Speaking to about 800 U.S. military, diplomatic and political leaders at a global conference in Washington, he said the path to a deal with Iran was paved in Syria.
“We may have another possibility with Iran, where we are engaging on a diplomatic path to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said at the conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“The United States is clear-eyed about the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead on this path, and the need for Iran to demonstrate its seriousness through actions. We will maintain a strong and ready military presence in the Persian Gulf, and the broader Middle East, to deter Iran’s destabilizing activities, and to work with and protect our allies and our interests.”
In using the Syria model, he hinted that a strong military threat would back up the diplomatic efforts.
“The multi-dimensional challenges confronting us with Iran and Syria are but two pieces of the global complexities we will continue to face in the 21st century. In both cases our military power has been an important part of the work to possibly find these diplomatic resolutions, resolutions to difficult and interconnected international problems,” Hagel said.Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com.