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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me

In the Washington Times, James Zumwalt reminds us of what happened the last time the West negotiated with Iran over its nuclear capability.
Oftentimes in police work, a crime is identified only because a perpetrator's ego rises above his concern for remaining silent about his accomplishment. The same is true of Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani. Leaving office in 2005, he boasted how, during his two-year tour, he had deceived the Western powers. In his recent book "The Rise of Nuclear Iran," author Dore Gold details how Mr. Rowhani bragged, "When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan." (Isfahan is where the fuel conversion for Iran's nuclear weapons program took place.) The Isfahan project had not yet begun when talks with the Europeans had, but it was completed while those talks continued.

Mr. Gold explains Mr. Rowhani's diplomatic deception: "Thus, while Rowhani sat at the negotiating table, participating in the first trial run of the West's engagement with it over the nuclear question, Iran quietly moved from having no uranium conversion capability whatsoever to actually completing its clandestine conversion plant."

As further evidence of Iran's deceit, Mr. Rowhani's success was achieved not under current Islamic extremist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but under purportedly moderate President Mohammad Khatami, who supposedly was seeking better relations with the West at that time. He wasn't -- Iran made us believe otherwise, artfully employing diplomatic deception to play us for fools.

With Tehran most likely less than a year away from the finish line in its race to achieve nuclear weapons capability, why would it choose to negotiate now -- as it enters the home stretch -- to stop its program? It hasn't -- Iran again only seeks to buy what little remaining time it needs to make its nuclear weapons program a fait accompli.

There will be two developments from this proposal. First, of the six nations receiving it -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- China and Russia will continue to block any additional U.N. sanctions. Second, Iran will continue its march to achieve a nuclear weapons capability through diplomatic deception.

While Washington will engage Tehran in talks, only a fool enters them optimistically. Those talks will fail, leaving the United States to decide if Iran's final run to the nuclear weapons finish line will be an unencumbered one.
He's right until the last paragraph. There are two issues here. First, the Obama administration is at best indifferent to Iran acquiring a nuclear capability, naively believing that capability can be contained.

And second, there's another power that might have something to say about whether Iran's final run to the finish line will be unencumbered - one that has a much more immediate stake in the result than the United States has.

What could go wrong?


At 8:29 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Iranians are happy to keep up appearances. But they will not give up the ability to produce a bomb. On that score, the West should have no illusions.


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