Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared “victory” over superpowers after IAEA published its report on the country’s nuclear program. Ahmadinejad said he would have ordered a nationwide celebration if the country was not observing the religious month of Safar [IRIB, 23 February].
Yesterday, the IAEA had said in its report that because of unresolved issues concerning an alleged Iranian program to produce a nuclear weapon (Green Salt project), it was not in a position to determine the full nature of Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA report expressed “serious concerns” in this regard. Iran analysts were bewildered today how President Ahmadinejad could declare victory over such strongly-worded statement by the IAEA.
In a related development, France said the IAEA report raises questions about the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities [AFP, 23 February]. A French foreign ministry statement said “important uncertainties remain, in particular on activities that could have a military nuclear dimension.”
In the US, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a quick UN action to penalize Iran for refusing to roll back its nuclear program. Rice said the new IAEA report strengthened the case for further UN sanctions against Iran [AP, 23 February].
Actually, this is what ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, said about Iran’s nuclear program:
“[W]e have made quite good progress in clarifying the outstanding issues that had to do with Iran´s past nuclear activities, with the exception of one issue, and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past. We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran´s enrichment programme.”
Iran has shown that it has no weapons program, the only allegations against it now are accusations about an “alleged” weaponization program “supposedly” done in the past — and the only source making that claim is the US
Would you care for some Yellowcake from Niger?
The problem faced by Iran is its own doing. When they said they “never” had any weaponization program, they opened themselves to charges of lying and hiding some programs, as now is the case with the Green Salt program. If they had said they experimented with military applications of nuclear technology and stopped it in 2003, as many analysts assume, then they would have been much more believable and it would have “closed” their dossier, at least for now. Saying Green Salt documents are all fake does not cut it.
Indeed, Iran has answered the set of questions posed to it by IAEA. But the weaponization program by far outweighs them all. Iran needs to come up with clear explanation, or even the Russian and the Chinese would vote against them at UNSC.
Time against U.S. in Iran nuclear row : diplomat
Mon, 25 Feb 2008
PARIS (Reuters) - Time is working against the United States in its dispute with Iran over Tehran's nuclear program, Washington's ambassador to the United Nations said in an interview published on Monday.
The United States, France and Britain are pushing for the U.N. Security Council to pass new sanctions against Iran this week for ignoring demands it suspend uranium enrichment, which can make fuel for power plants or, potentially, atomic weapons.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Zalmay Khalilzad said Iran's testing of a new generation of centrifuges -- machines that enrich uranium -- would bring it closer to obtaining the fissile material needed for a nuclear weapon.
"From a certain point of view, time is not working in our favor -- the Iranians are now planning to develop a new, more efficient generation of centrifuges and if they master that technology to produce fissile material they will have access to better enriched uranium," he said in comments written in French.
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I agree with this assessment from a NYT piece that I consider otherwise dishonest and fear-mongering:
It is possible that Tehran, which wants to cause us great harm in Iraq and Afghanistan, could again back a terrorist attack that kills enough Americans to make preventive military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities mandatory.
But the Iranians know this. They know they are in the final nuclear stretch: they will likely play it sufficiently cool to make it difficult for the United States to strike them pre-emptively.
Attack Iran, With Words
Mark, I believe the US has already lined up the Russian and Chinese support for a third round of UN sanctions. The sanctions themselves might be significant; the yes vote by Russia and China will be very significant however.
US can, and it seems that it will, out strong sanctions on its own, such as blacklisting the Central Bank of Iran, which would be a very significant development, especially if the EU or major European countries do the same. It could seriously disrupt Iran’s international trade.
The war will be fought, at least for now, on commerce, trade, and economic spheres, and not on military battle fields. The IAEA report has given the US the momentum to take these steps.
I agree. If there must be international punishment meted out against Iran, and I don't think they necessarily deserve any, let the punishment be economic and political sanctions etc. rather than military action.
Regardless of the continual saber rattling from the USA and israel, I do not think the USA is prepared to initiate hostilities with Iran (unless severely provoked). A ground invasion of Iran is out of the question considering the present state of the U.S. Army. Air strikes would be the only available military option. Air attack would almost certainly be insufficient to destroy everything that the Americans (and their masters, israel) would want to destroy inside Iran. I strongly doubt the Americans would initiate war under those circumstances. Any attack against Iran, whether it's successful, or partially successful or unsuccessful will invite a response from the Iranians. I do not believe the Americans want to find out what that might be.
My primary interest is preventing military hostilities between Iran and the United States. Let the two nations bicker with each other endlessly if that's destined to be their relationship but armed conflict must be avoided.
Geopolitics is a chess game. The Iranians are well schooled in chess and I believe they know when to be aggressive and when to play for a stalemate. I think they are playing for a stalemate now trying to wait out w. bush's term in office. I'm hopeful that's what they're doing because in my opinion the likelihood of an overt attack by the United States against Iran drops dramatically once w. bush is out of office.
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