We are willing to talk about certain assurances in the context of them showing some good faith. I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hell bent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior and there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior. Where those conversations go is not yet clear, but what is absolutely clear is that the path that we are on now is not going to make our troops in Iraq safer. Iran has shown no inclination to back off of their support of Shia militias as a consequence of the threats that they’ve been receiving from the Bush and Cheney administration. If anything, it probably accelerates their interest in trying to make a situation in Iraq as uncomfortable as possible for us.”
In other words, Obama knows that Iran cannot be motivated by threats alone. That in fact threats make the situation worse, as it only confirms to the Iranian leadership that they should get nukes as fast as they can.
Jeb Koogler at Foreign Policy Watch explains in more detail:
Schuler's right - Obama's emphasis on security guarantees would represent a significant and important change in American policy. As The Washington Post reported last year, the Bush administration has consistently refused to offer "a guarantee against attacking or undermining Iran's hard-line government in exchange for having Tehran curtail its nuclear program." Condoleezza Rice, in May of 2006, affirmed this point: "Iran is a troublemaker in the international system, a central banker of terrorism. Security assurances are not on the table."
But a non-aggression pact from Washington could actually make all the difference in the success of these negotiations.
Security guarantees remove a primary impetus that Iran has to pursue nuclear weapons. Offering them also puts us in a better position to demand the end of Iran's nuclear program. These basic facts are almost self-evident, but while Hillary prevaricates on whether or not we should or should not strike Iran, Obama makes it clear that he will exhaust all possible diplomatic avenues before even considering resorting to military force. This is the kind of clear-thinking foreign policy we are desperately in need of.
Read the rest of the interview. Like me, I'm sure you'll get the sense that when it comes to being a foreign policy grown-up, Obama is the most adult of them all.