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BERLIN — There is a wise American saying: “If you are in a hole, stop digging.” The six governments that are considering the next steps to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — should heed that advice. Otherwise, they could end up without any handle on the Iranian nuclear program, and only one — useless — option left, a military strike.

Yet the six governments seem determined to continue with what has been their strategy so far. Their condition for negotiating with Iran is a prior halt of its nuclear enrichment activities. Only in exchange for Iran’s permanent renunciation of enrichment will they provide major rewards — from lifting all sanctions and trade restrictions to security guarantees.

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