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Trust, But Verify: Nearly Impossible

By Gary R'Nel

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The original Russian proverb was used by President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987. Reagan used it frequently when discussing the verification of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty being negotiated with the then-Soviet Union. Reagan's counterpart, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, complained to Reagan that "you repeat that at every meeting." The Gipper responded, "I like it."

George Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989, understood the intrinsic value of "Trust, But Verify" when it came to dealing with America's most dangerous adversary at the time. Today, our most dangerous adversary is Iran. President Obama could sure use a dose of Ronald Wilson Reagan's DNA when dealing with the mullah's of Iran.

After a second extension in November, the Iran nuclear talks are back on. All sides agreed to step up efforts to clinch a full-blown deal by June 30th.

President Obama warned lawmakers not to trigger new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, saying such a move would upset diplomatic talks and increase the likelihood of a military conflict with Tehran. This is the antithesis of what this President should be saying. A pernicious set of new sanctions documented if Iran fails in reaching a truly verifiable agreement would strengthen our negotiating position.

Big problem here. The Ayatollah Ali Khamaneni and President Hassan Rouhandi are not to be trusted. Late reports reveal that Iran has developed two ballistic missiles that can deliver a payload 1,500 miles and now possesses drones with a range of 1,250 miles. Iranian missiles could reach the U.S. shores by 2015.

Earlier this month, an Iranian spokesman said that legislators are working on a motion under which the government would be obliged to step up uranium enrichment using new-generation centrifuges. Development continues at the Arak heavy water reactor and at the Fordo nuclear facility. Iran maintains this is for civilian purposes.

Recently, Iran has told the United States that an Israeli air strike which killed an Iranian general in Syria crossed "red lines," and the Islamic republic will respond.

"We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act," Iran said.

"Trust, But Verify." I am confident that "Trust" in this phrase is not applicable to the Iranian regime, which is motivated by an intense hatred for Israel and the United States. Be careful Mr. President, your legacy is at stake.

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