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Monday, September 14, 2009

Iran is wasting the West's time

On Friday, the Obama administration agreed to meet with Iran for 'unconditional talks' even though the Iranians insisted that their nuclear development program would not be part of the 'conversation.' Israel's former military intelligence Aharon (Zeevi) Farkash says that Iran is wasting the West's time.
Iran continues to play its game of deception. The former chief of Military Intelligence, Major General (res.) Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, told Haaretz the Iranians are behaving this way because "they're at such an advanced stage in their plans, all they need to do is to waste time while pushing hard for their immediate goal, which is to produce sufficient quantities of fissile material for two or three atomic bombs."

In Israel, there are suspicions that the pace of Iranian advance has accelerated, and that Tehran "will continue walking on the edge of the cliff" in its exchanges with the international community.

Apparently, this explains the declaration of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki that dialogue with the international community might include discussion of the nuclear program "if the conditions are right."

This statement diverges slightly from the document Iran offered as its official response to the international community, and also from the comments of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed last Monday that his country will not cease to enrich uranium and will not negotiate on its "nuclear rights."

The results of the dialogue are expected to become clear by December. The commonly accepted assessment here holds that little can be achieved and therefore sanctions against Iran will be forthcoming. But the likelihood of tough sanctions is doubtful, as backing from Russia and China will be limited. Even if the U.S. manages to harness broad support for sanctions, with the backing of the United Nations Security Council, these will almost certainly be insufficiently potent.
I would call it 'stalling for time' rather than 'wasting the West's time.' While Obama is busy 'talking' to the Iranians, the Iranians will be busy spinning the centrifuges to break out a nuclear weapon. By the time December rolls around, it will be too late for sanctions even if the Russians and the Chinese agree to them.

In the meantime, while the 'talking' is going on, the Obama administration will do all it can to prevent Israel from striking Iran, and if war breaks out between Israel and Iran, Israel will be blamed and labeled the aggressor.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Reuters, Israel's Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor warned that now is the time to act against Iran. Unfortunately, much of the rest of his interview is wishful thinking in which he says that he 'can't say' that 'engagement' with Iran is a waste of time, and he speaks of 'common international action,' while avoiding the problem of Russia and China not cooperating.

It's too late for sanctions, even if they could be agreed upon. One can only hope that Meridor is a decoy and he doesn't believe the naive views he expressed in his interview with Reuters. But even if Meridor is naive, I doubt Netanyahu is.

What could go wrong?


At 9:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Sanctions could work if the US and Western Europe were serious about them. Russian and Chinese cooperation would be nice to have but its impossible to isolate Iran if the West lacks the will to do it.

What we are missing is American leadership. What could go wrong indeed


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