Foreign Affairs

Extra! Read All About It! Iran Wants to Talk!

Extra! Extra! Breaking News! Guess What? Now, Iran is ready to talk about its uranium enrichment program! Who would have guessed that this event would come on the eve of a report from Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to his 35-member board this week in Vienna, Austria? Iran knows full well the contents of the report which shows that their nuclear program is anything but peace oriented. They also know that sanctions — possibly severe sanctions in the form of economic hardships are quite possibly soon to be levied against them.

That process really started on December 23 of last year when the UN Security Council imposed a first round of sanctions against the Iranian nuclear and missile programs and their further development. The country was given 60 days to comply with an enrichment freeze or face further and wider sanctions. The clock has just now stuck midnight on that promise. But no further penalties are expected immediately, as the UN will move into a debate phase first and Russia and China, both holding veto power in the Security Council, have close ties to Iran and are unlikely to vote for more sanctions without holding “negotiations” with Iran, just as was recently accomplished with the six-country talks with North Korea.

So Iran is emboldened, but it also knows that the governments in the West that it has been taunting are capable of causing them great harm. The United States has beefed up its presence in the Persian Gulf with aircraft carrier and mine sweepers, and our power cannot be totally ignored even by a sassy smart-mouthed bully that the Iran leader most certainly is.

Indeed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejai, who controls things non-clerical in Iraq’s large neighboring nation, which may or may not be very much, it is hard to tell because power is so widely divided between the holy ones there and the mere elite civilians, must have been reading the reports of North Korea’s possible success at the nuclear bargaining table and now wants in on the action.

Suddenly his anti-holocaust, “destroy-the-infidels-of-Israel-and-America-at- any-cost” diatribes are replaced with a much less threatening, actually calm, and reasonable sounding, but still defiant tone.

We should not listen to him, of course, because he has already shown his bigoted colors to civilized nations several times and defined very well for us exactly the lying madman that he is.

What Iran continues to refuse to do as a pre-condition of any talks with the West is to allow verification that they have stopped all uranium enrichment activities. Instead, even in his calm, supposedly affable new tone, Ahmadinejai says that:

“Justice demands that those who want to hold talks with us shut down their nuclear fuel cycle program too. Then we can hold (a) dialogue under a fair atmosphere.”

Well, if “justice demands” such an equality, why don’t we start with real human equality for all? Why doesn’t Iran raise its women up to equal class with their men? Why doesn’t Iran join the 21st Century instead of being mired in a darkness in which religious intolerance, social repression and the denial of basic human rights for all is the norm and not the exception? Yes, justice should demand that as well.

But, since that is not in the immediate cards, while Iran’s continuing nuclear program is, then justice must demand that a nation as irresponsible and as governed as it is by loons of both the civilian and religious ilk, should never be allowed to getting anywhere near to having active nuclear weapons.

While Ahmadinejai was putting on his new image of conciliation, his top advocates, Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki and senior nuclear “negotiator” Ali Larijani were repeating in Vienna, home of the IAEA, the latest mantras from the Iranian government saying things like:

Iran is seeking talks that can “achieve an agreement” allowing Iran to “achieve its rights” while eliminating “concerns” about its nuclear ambitions. Iran is actively looking “for ways and means to start negotiations.”

However both men ruled out absolutely any suspension of their on-going program as a pre-condition of talks. Indeed, they have said on a number of occasions that they are not “afraid” of UN sanctions.

The United States and free Europe, in fact all of the world’s civilized nations, should stand up to this bullying atmosphere right now, once and for all, and demand a complete halt to Iran’s activities, coupled with full and regular inspections. If Iran continues to refuse and continues to play with the world public opinion through its shifting dialogue from hostile to friendly and back again, we should waste very little time in first imposing stiff sanctions and then very shortly thereafter simply eliminating the problem altogether, regardless of whether all other nations agree. The issue is too important to world security to be left in the hands of UN diplomats, or nations with nuclear and other military trading ties to Iran, who seem to prefer to talk endlessly rather than to act.

Yes, justice does most certainly demand it.


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