Sunday, September 9, 2007

Khamenei: No to a Nuclear Iran

Iran’s Supreme Leader said today that the country has no plans to build a nuclear bomb. Khamenei, speaking to the commanders and the officers of Islamic Revolution Guards Corp. (IRGC), said “Iran has no atomic bomb” and “has no plans to create the deadly weapon” (Fars News Agency).

Iran analyst point out that this is the very first time that Ayatollah Khamenei has so emphatically and without any reservations has declared that Iran has no nuclear weapons. The venue in which Khamenei made the declaration is also significant. The IRGC is in charge of Iran’s nuclear program and would have controlled any nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that Iran would not negotiate with anyone over its nuclear program. IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as also saying, “Enemies of this nation should know that Iran is not about to retreat.” Ahmadinejad has also repeatedly called the country a “nuclear Iran.”

Khamenei had also pledged last Monday that Iran would not give in to Western pressure over its nuclear program and would defeat its “drunken and arrogant” opponents (Fars News Agency).

The Iranian leadership has cornered itself to an unsustainable position. Khamenei declares that the country has no atomic bomb and has no intentions to make one. Yet they are ready to isolate the country internationally and to risk a devastating armed conflict with the West over local production of enriched uranium. It does not make any sense. They do not have even a single nuclear reactor in operation, and they are not planning to make bombs either. Why the need to enrich uranium then?

If it is true that Iran does not intend to make any nuclear weapons, and knowing that the country will not have any operational nuclear reactor for at least another year, and knowing that Russia is contractually bound to provide the nuclear fuel needed for the sole reactor under construction, then all the bravados of the leaders in the Islamic Republic which is bringing the country to the verge of a loosing military conflict looks eerily like Saddam’s behavior.

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