Thursday, October 27, 2005

Iran Condemned

By calling for Israel’s destruction, Iran’s President has set off a diplomatic firestorm. Except for Arab government that have chosen to remain silent, Ahmadinejad’s comments have been universally condemned. Two of the condemnations — by the chief Palestinian negotiator and the Russian Foreign Minister — are particularly significant; the former because it means that the Palestinian Authority does not view Iran as an ally, and the later because it suggests that the Russians may no longer attempt to block the reporting of Iran to the UN Security Council.

This post extracts the comments of government officials from articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and the BBC. Reading them will leave little doubt that Iran has seriously blundered. Those who would appease Iran will now find it to be more difficult to justify their position. As French President Chirac said, Iran now risks being made a pariah.

____________________

As reported by the New York Times:

  • In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the remarks reconfirmed “what we have been saying about this particular regime in Iran,” and added that it “only serves to underscore our concern, as well as the international community’s concern, about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
  • A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry said “Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen such extreme statements from senior Iranian leaders,” adding, “We see today that there is a growing understanding in the international community that the extremist regime in Tehran is not just Israel’s problem, but rather an issue that the entire international community must grapple with.”

As reported by the Washington Post:

  • French President Chirac called the remarks “completely irresponsible” and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed “dismay” at them, in a rare rebuke of a UN member state.
  • Newspapers across the Middle East reported Ahmadinejad’s speech without comment, many of them on their front pages.
  • “We have recognized the state of Israel and we are pursuing a peace process with Israel, and … we do not accept the statements of the president of Iran,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. “This is unacceptable.”
  • Egyptian Foreign Ministry and Cabinet officials said Cairo would have nothing to say on the address. However, Mohammed Wahby, a former diplomat and member of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs, said it was a mistake to remain quiet about the speech, which he said undermined Mideast peace prospects.
  • Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher also declined comment, apparently to avoid further aggravating relations with Iran, which the kingdom has accused of interfering in Iraq to strengthen the Shiite influence in the Middle East.

As reported by The Times:

  • Blair gave warning last night that the West might have to take military action against Iran:
  • If they carry on like this the question people will be asking us is — when are you going to do something about Iran? Can you imagine a State like that with an attitude like that having nuclear weapons?
    He said that there were people in Iran’s leadership who believed that the world was sufficiently distracted that it could not afford to focus on the nuclear arms issue.
    They will be making a very big mistake if they do that. Those sentiments are completely unacceptable. I have never come across a situation in which the president of a country has said they want to wipe out another country. That is unacceptable.
    Their attitude towards Israel, terrorism and nuclear weapons is not acceptable. If they continue down this path people are going to believe that they are a real threat to world security and stability. I feel a real sense of revulsion. It shows how much some of these places need to reform themselves. How can we build a more secure world with that type of attitude? It is a disgrace.
  • Prime Minister Sharon demanded Iran’s expulsion from the UN, saying that “A country that calls for the destruction of another people cannot be a member.”
  • In a joint statement, the European Union said that “Calls for violence and for the destruction of any state are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community.” The EU leaders said that Ahmadinejad’s comments would cause concern about Iran’s role in the region and its future intentions.

As reported by The Telegraph:

  • Blair said the western allies would meet in the next few days to decide how to react.
  • The Russian Foreign Minister said that “I have to admit that those who insist on transferring the Iranian nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council have received an additional argument to do so.”

As reported by The Guardian:

  • Several countries including Britain, France, Russia, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, called in Iranian diplomats to chastise them.
  • France Chirac said “I was profoundly shocked by the declaration of the Iranian president,” and that by his “irresponsible remarks” he risked his country being made a pariah.

As reported by the BBC:

  • A British diplomat said “”It’s a crass thing for any head of state to say about another country.” Talking about British understatement!
  • Other diplomats noted its spectacularly bad timing, coming, as it did, within hours of a suicide bombing by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilians.
  • At the end of an informal EU summit, Tony Blair rhetorically asked “Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon?”
  • Russia summoned Iran’s ambassador to Moscow for a reprimand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Iran, Syria Chemical Weapons Collaboration

From Ynet News and Reuters:

    Damascus is pursuing “an innovative chemical warfare (CW) program in co-operation with Iran,” Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last Monday. Tehran made a contractual commitment to Syria a few months ago to provide Iranian technical assistance to facilitate Syria’s CW program. Iran will assist Syria in the planning, establishment, and pilot operation of four or five facilities throughout Syria for the production of precursors for VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent.

Iran is playing realpolitik. Other than destroying Israel, Iran’s objective is to push the US out of Iraq and, having done so, to take advantage of the resulting chaos to annex Iraq (de facto if not de jure). This requires a continuation of the al Qaeda-led insurgency in Iraq which, in turn, means sustaining the flow of jihadis into Iraq from Syria. Sustaining that flow will be facilitated if the Assad regime remains in power. Ultimately, keeping that regime in power requires that the US be deterred from attacking Syria. Given US public opinion, the probability of successful deterrence is directly proportional to the perceived level of American casualties that would result from such an attack. If Syria has chemical weapons, estimated US casualties will increase, forestalling an attack and giving the jihadis more time to turn US public opinion against continued involvement in Iraq. After the US withdraws, Iran and Syria, with the assistance of the Shia majority in Iraq, attack the jihadis.

That’s how I see Iran’s game plan. What do you think?

Iran: Israel Must Be Destroyed

For the first time in a number of years, a high-ranking Iranian official has called for Israel’s eradication. The official just happens to be President Ahmadinejad, who offered these words at a Tehran conference entitled “The World without Zionism”:

The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor [the US] against the Islamic world . . . The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land . . . As the Imam [Khomeini] said, Israel must be wiped off the map . . .The Islamic umma [community] will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland . . . We should not settle for a piece of land [Gaza] . . . Anyone who signs a treaty which recognises the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world . . . Any leaders in the Islamic umma who recognise Israel face the wrath of their own people.

I’ll say this for Ahmadinejad: there’s no ambiguity in his words. But those words could be counterproductive for Iran by possibly weakening its position at the UN and increasing the likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive strike if and when it appears that Iran is on the verge of having a nuclear weapons capability.

The only reason I can see for this exercise in extremism is to rally support for an unpopular regime by stirring up hatred for an external enemy. After all, that’s a time-honored technique for totalitarians.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iran's Nuclear Program: America's "Duplicity"

Put yourself in their shoes and you’d understand — indeed sympathize — with Iran’s nuclear program and the support it’s getting from many of the member countries of the UN’s IAEA. That’s the message of Joan McAlpine’s commentary in the online version of the Scottish Herald. She’s a bonafide Useful Idiot.

The mullahs may be irrational,

but Iran’s stance on nuclear power has made it something of a hero among third-world states, even those that are democracies with good human-rights records. Viewed from their perspective, this country’s refusal to bow to pressure from the west is admirable – the current stand-off highlights the double-standard approach to nuclear proliferation adopted by both Europe and America. It is these double standards that earn Iran its many admirers.

Think about it from the perspective of someone in Tehran, Lagos or Rio de Janeiro. You are allowed to build power stations, under watchful western eyes, perhaps to western designs and with the help of western companies – but you absolutely cannot make your own enriched uranium to power them. For that, you must go to those same rich, powerful countries who have appointed themselves as global policemen. And you must beg. In a bizarre contradiction, these countries that restrict your nuclear development actually bristle with arsenals of destructive power that could destroy your little state, not to say the rest of the world, a thousand times over. Now does this seem balanced, or do we hear that old-fashioned word “imperialism” being whispered?

In other words, because some countries have nukes, all countries should be allowed to have nukes. Never mind the ensuing arms race (think Sunni Egypt and Saudi Arabia vs. Shia Iran) and resulting increase in the risk of regional nuclear wars, especially when some of the nukes are in the hands of a state sponsor of terrorism. To McAlpine, this risks are worth taking to avoid a new “imperialism.”

And what country is the foremost advoate of the new imperialism and ignoring the non-proliferation treaty? You guessed it:

America also lives by its own rules. Last month, the Pentagon “accidentally” released a draft document called the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. It is currently sitting in Donald Rumsfeld’s far-from-safe pair of hands, awaiting approval. If Doctor Strangelove were made in the 21st century, a document such as this might well have featured in the plot. It suggests integrating conventional and nuclear attacks for the sake of “efficiency”. It lowers the threshold for nuclear strikes and tries to justify “first use”, even when the enemy only has conventional weapons. Targets include terrorists and states that support terrorists. There doesn’t even have to be a war. The more vague term “conflict” is used instead.

Frightening, isn’t it? Yet it is Tehran, not Washington DC, which is accused of breaching the non-proliferation treaty: a violation which, if accepted by the UN, could lead to the imposition of sanctions.

McAlpine’s article wouldn’t be complete without a few words of praise for the IAEA:

Mr El Baradei’s organisation is much more representative of the world community than, say, the permanent membership of security council. A substantial number of its governors belong to the Non-Aligned Movement, which makes up 116 members of the 191-strong UN.

Is Iran’s stance “understandable.” You bet. So was Hitler’s hatred of the Versailles Treaty. Does Iran have British sympathizers? So did Hitler (remember Chamberlain, among others?). Should any country with an understandable grievance be allowed to redress it, even if world peace is endangered in the process? Some people have either never learned the lessons of history, forgotten them, or have had their ideologies cloud their vision. McAlpine falls into one of these categories — probably the third.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Russian Missile Assistance to Iran

The Telegraph reports that former members of the Russian military have been secretly helping Iran to acquire technology needed to produce missiles capable of striking European capitals. The Russians are acting as go-betweens with North Korea as part of a multi-million pound deal they negotiated between Teheran and Pyongyang in 2003.

The North Korean missile is the Taepo Dong 2, which is based on the submarine-launched Soviet SSN6. Modifications allow it to be fired from a land-based transporter and this technology is being smuggled to Teheran with Russian help. Russians have provided production facilities, diagrams and operating instruction so the missile can be built in Iran. Liquid propellant has been shipped to Iran.

According to The Telegraph, Western intelligence officials believe that the technology will enable Iran to complete development of a missile designed to carry a 1.2-ton payload, sufficient for a basic nuclear device.

In a related editorial (”Last chance to avoid war”), The Telegraph says that

The significance of the illegal trading is that Iran may be even closer to developing a full-blown strategic missile capability than most Western nations have been willing to concede. Iran already has missiles capable of carrying warheads to targets throughout the Middle East. But the system now under development could - if completed - rain nuclear weapons on many parts of Europe. The crisis must now be referred to the United Nations Security Council as a matter of urgency - with the unambiguous understanding that this is only a first step.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Iranian Involvement in Iraq

Late in September, I noted that Britain seemed to be replacing the U.S. as Iran’s Great Satan. Perhaps there’s more to this than the Iranian nuclear program:

    A team of UK military specialists has been dispatched to Iraq to compile a comprehensive dossier of evidence that “Iranian elements” have been arming insurgents engaged in a brutal struggle with British forces around Basra. The Foreign Office last night confirmed that experts were engaged in an intensive operation to back up growing concerns that Iran is “interfering” to deadly effect in efforts to pacify Iraq and restore democracy to the war-torn country.

It has been clear for the past few months and during the summer that there have been more sophisticated attacks that required technologically advanced equipment and knowledge of how to use it. It is clear from the equipment involved that it is coming from outside Iraq. There are indications that the sort of equipment is similar to that used by Hezbollah, which is known to be trained and equipped by Iran.

    The insistence that Britain is determined to prove Iran is providing sophisticated equipment to perpetrators of attacks that have claimed the lives of at least eight British soldiers in the past five months is a significant development in the escalating war of words between London and Tehran.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

EU3-Iran Standoff

Who to believe?

From the AP:

Europeans have said in the past that negotiations would not resume unless Iran stops uranium reprocessing in Isfahan. Tehran says it will never again stop uranium conversion but is ready for dialogue.

But Iran's Foriegn Ministry spokesman says that Europeans have been sending mixed signals about reopening nuclear talks:

A number of European countries have expressed willingness in the past few days to join talks and help get out of the present situation. … Instead of sending mixed signals, the EU should practically show it is interested in dialogue.

Evidently, the Iranian regime isn’t very worried about the possibility of sanctions:

    As Opec’s second-largest producer, due to receive $36bn this year from sales, Iran is buoyed by high oil prices and does not expect exports to be curbed. The country is largely self-sufficient in food, and neighbours have porous borders. Foreign investment, outside energy, is already limited.

Friday, September 30, 2005


Iran: Britain Still Dreaming of World Empire

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Has Britain replaced the US as the Great Satan? Reading the Tehran Times — the mullahs’ mouthpiece — gives this impression:
It seems that the British government is determined to take a more hostile stance than the U.S. in dealing with Iran’s nuclear dossier so that it can compensate for its deficiency in the world […]

India’s Vote Against Iran Explained

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

A few days ago, I noted that India was among the countries that voted in favor of the watered-down IAEA resolution stating that Iran has violated its nuclear treaty obligations by secretly developing a nuclear program. Subsequently, I noted that India’s yea vote surprised the Iranians and called into question a recent deal that […]

Iranian Threats

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Even a watered-down IAEA resolution was too much for the Iranians to take. Today the Foreign Ministry warned that it may take economic reprisals against the 22 countries that voted for the wrist-slap. India’s yea vote surprised the Iranians and they’re unhappy about it. Recently, India signed a $22 billion deal to […]

What To Do About Iran

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Contemplating the ineffectiveness of the IAEA in dealing with Iran, a Wall Street Journal editorial comes up with this:
The U.S. and Europe could also easily deny visas to senior Iranian diplomats and block Iranian participation in premier sports events like next year’s World Cup soccer tournament. This would at least send a signal to Iran’s […]

Linkages

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

In his op-ed in the Washington Post, Jim Hoagland links Katrina and Rita with Iran and North Korea:
A decision by the Bush administration not to press for economic sanctions against oil-producing Iran was sealed by the destructive force that the two hurricanes targeted on U.S. refining facilities and the resulting leap in crude oil and […]

The New York Times on Iran

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Today’s New York Times has an editorial on Iran that’s actually worth reading and uses language that assumes something more than an elementary school education. While I don’t agree with its prescription, I do agree with its description:
It’s a great time to be an Iranian theocrat. American military power has removed your most […]

Iran Gets Slapped on the Wrist

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

The Washington Post reports that the IAEA’s board has passed a resolution stating that Iran has violated its nuclear treaty obligations by secretly developing a nuclear program.
A sign of progress? Nope. While the resolution obligates the board to report Iran to the Security Council, it leaves open the issue of when. […]

The EU3 Does a 180 (Updated)

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

They changed their mind. Friday evening, the EU3 submitted a resolution to the IAEA requiring Iran to be reported to the Security Council over what the West fears is a covert atomic weapons program. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters the resolution had been formally submitted and the board would convene on Saturday […]

Pollack on Iran

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Ken Pollack, author of the highly influential 2002 book “The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq” and, more recently, “The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America“, was recently interviewed by Spiegel Online. This post summarizes his views on Iran, as expressed in that interview.
ON THE EVIDENCE THAT IRAN HAS A […]

Iran: Revised Draft IAEA Resolution

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

These are excerpts from the revised resolution drafted by the EU3 for the Board of Governor of the IAEA that was rejected by Russia, as reported by Reuters:
Finds that Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement … constitute non-compliance in the context of Article XII.C […]

US and EU Backpedal on Iran Sanctions

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

There seems to be a pattern developing here. At the same time that Britain is weakening its terrorism legislation, the US and the EU, following strong opposition from other countries on the board of the IAEA, are softening their position on Iran’s nuclear program. On the same day, we can see multiculturalism — […]

The Looming Muslim Demographic Crisis

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

The Asian Time’s Spengler has written a couple of provocative columns on demographic trends. In “The Demographics of Radical Islam,” he avers that
Today’s Islamists think like the French general staff in 1914. Islam has one generation in which to establish a global theocracy before hitting a demographic barrier. Islam has enough young men - […]

Iran Update

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Reacting to yesterday’s confrontational UN speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the EU3 (Britain, France, Germany) is now drafting a resolution urging the IAEA to report Iran to the Security Council. The governing board of the IAEA begins a week-long meeting tomorrow.
French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told Europe 1 radio: “What is happening in […]

Fanciful, Dangerous Thinking on Iran

Monday, August 22nd, 2005

Think back to the late 1940s, when the US had a nuclear monopoly. The Cold War was well under way. We were busily constructing a system of alliances to surround and contain the Soviet Union. Under these circumstances, it could have been argued that, since the Soviets believed their security was threatened, it was perfectly […]

Iran: Washington Post Editorial

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

An excerpt:
Now there is no further room for obfuscation, and no further reason to give Iranians the benefit of the doubt: The real aim of the Iranian nuclear program is nuclear weapons, not electric power.

Iran Resumes Uranium Conversion

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

Yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry informed the British, French and German ambassadors in Tehran that it had rejected the EU-3’s nuclear proposals and Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Deputy Director, Mohammad Saeedi, announced that nuclear activities at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility had been resumed.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza said that the proposals ignored Iran’s right to […]

Iran’s Terrorist President

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Bernard-Henri Levy, the noted French intellectual and author of Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, condemns Iran’s new president in “A Black Week for Iran and the World,” published in Le Point. Thanks to Iran-Va-Jahan for translating Levy’s column, and Pundita for bringing it to my attention.
A Black Week for Iran and the World
By Bernard-Henry Levy
“Chancelleries […]

France’s Position on Iran’s Nuclear Activities

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

Secretary of State Rice and French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy met in Washington yesterday. Following their meeting, they held a short joint press conference, highlights of which are posted here.
In response to a question from a French reporter regarding the Iranian nuclear program, Douste-Blazy noted that Chirac had recently “unequivocally said that he was in […]

The US Acts on Iran

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

From the Financial Times:

The US is threatening severe financial penalties against any foreign companies or individuals that do business with the government agency that operates Iran’s civilian nuclear programme, a move that could open new rifts among the US, Russia and Europe over how to deal with the nuclear threat posed by Iran.
[…]

On the Iranian Election

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

Amir Taheri, who was the executive editor of Iran’s largest daily newspaper during the last seven years of the Shah’s rule (1972-1979), has written an extremely interesting commentary for the European and Asia editions of the Wall Street Journal. Here are some excerpts:
There are many ways to interpret the surprise victory of Mahmoud Ahamadinejad […]

Europe’s Iran Illusions

Monday, June 6th, 2005

Amir Taheri claims that the Europeans are victims of their own delusions. Their policy on Iran is based on a logical contradiction and a number of illusions. The contradiction is this:
Europe assumes that Iran has been lying about its nuclear program for two decades, and invites the Iranians to stop lying. But to do […]

US Aid To Iranian Dissidents

Sunday, May 29th, 2005

The New York Times reports that the Bush administration is expanding efforts to influence Iran’s internal politics with aid for opposition and pro-democracy groups abroad and longer broadcasts criticizing the Iranian government.
So far the resources directed toward these efforts are small, including $1.5 million late last year and $3 million this year, some of which […]

EU3 Ultimatum to Iran

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

From the Washington Post:

European officials notified Iran for the first time yesterday that they will walk away from two years of talks and sign on to a Bush administration strategy for punitive measures against Tehran if it makes good on threats to resume nuclear work in coming days.
In a sharply worded […]

Solana the Appeaser

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

Once again, Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, has donned his appeasers hat. This time, after telling reporters in Washington that the “starting point” of the EU demands was complete cessation of uranium enrichment and related activities, he suggested that a solution “pretty close” to full cessation could be acceptable. One might […]

Iran’s Statement at the NPT Conference

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

At the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that
The continued existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the nuclear-weapon States’ stockpiles . . . are the major sources of threat to global peace and security.

It’s hardly a surprise that, in the Foreign Affairs Minister’s view, preventing the further proliferation of nuclear […]

Update: Iranian Nuclear Program

Thursday, April 7th, 2005

From MEMRI:
The French position:

Ambassador François Nicoullaud made it clear that the referral of the Iranian dossier to the U.N. Security Council was “a real danger,” even though the parties have decided to continue negotiations. He made it clear that the European considerations transcend the Iranian issue, saying: “…The decision that will be made regarding the […]

Iraqi Shiism Could Topple Iran’s Mullahs

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Here’s an excerpt from a fascinating column in today’s International Herald Tribune by Cameron Khosrowshihi:
Rather than worrying about Iran’s influence over Iraq, we should be harnessing the strength of Iraq’s newly empowered Shiites against the regime in Iran. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiites, is cut from a different cloth from […]

Iran in Iraq

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

Over at the Belgravia Dispatch, Gregory Djerejian has posted an interesting quote from an International Crisis Group report:
Iran has the potential to do great mischief in post-Saddam Iraq, but despite wide-spread allegations, actual evidence of attempts to destabilise the country is rare and evidence of achievement rarer still. Instead, Iran’s priority has been to prevent […]

Iran’s Underground Secrets

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

According to the UK’s Guardian, Iranian engineers have built a secret underground storage area for use as a uranium enrichment facility in a restricted military area of interest to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
The information comes from Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile. Jafarzadeh is the former spokesman of National Coalition of Resistance of Iran, […]

Iran’s Nuclear University

Sunday, March 20th, 2005

The Telegraph reports that the Iranian government has given approval for the establishment of a secret nuclear research center to train its scientists in all aspects of atomic technology.

Recent reports received by Western intelligence show that Teheran has recently approved the establishment of a faculty of applied nuclear engineering that will be attached to the […]

Mr. Bush’s Nuanced Diplomacy

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005

Two recent developments have caused concern in some quarters that Mr. Bush is going “soft” on terrorism-sponsoring states and terrorist organizations:

Last week, Secretary of State Rice announced that the US will drop objections to Iran’s eventual membership in the World Trade Organization and will also allow, “on a case-by-case basis,” some sales of civilian aircraft […]

The Lebanon Stakes

Monday, March 14th, 2005

From today’s Wall Street Journal:
For Syria
. . . the stakes are economic and political. An estimated one million Syrian guest workers reside in Lebanon and remit their wages to relatives back home, and Syrian officials have plundered much of the international aid Lebanon received over the past decade. The Bekaa Valley also serves as a […]

Iran Says “Never”

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

The Tehran Times reports that Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, reacting to the American offer of economic incentives conditional on Iran’s permanent suspension of uranium enrichment, said
The Islamic Republic’s message to the world, to Europe and the U.S. is clear: that we will continue enrichment and will not freeze it.

This comes […]

Let’s Make a Deal

Friday, March 11th, 2005

The New York Times reports that Europe and the United States have agreed on a joint approach to negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, with the Bush administration agreeing to offer modest economic incentives. The American incentives would go into effect only if Iran agreed to halt the enrichment of uranium permanently, according […]

US Support for the EU3

Friday, March 11th, 2005

This is the complete text of Secretary Rice’s statement:
The United States appreciates the efforts of the European Union 3 (EU-3) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue. President Bush had very good discussions on Iran when he was in Europe which reflect a common view on the way […]

Faking It

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Carol A. Rodley, the State Department’s second-ranking top intelligence official, commenting on the Iranian nuclear program:
The Iranians don’t necessarily have to have a successful nuclear program in order to have the deterrent value. They merely have to convince us, others and their neighbors that they do.

But there are two dangers arising from a faking-it […]

Iranian Diplomat Defector: Secret Nukes

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

If this story from Spiegel Online is accurate, it’s a bombshell, literally and figuratively:

Tehran’s mullahs may be stating publicly that they have no nuclear ambitions, but privately, behind closed doors, they’re singing a very different tune.
An Iranian diplomat, who recently defected from Iran and is now holing up in an undisclosed […]

Nuclear Bunker-Busters

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

YESTERDAY: Hasan Rowhani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, confirmed that Iran was building a tunnel next to a nuclear facility in Isfahan without first informing the IAEA, said that “Constructing a tunnel is not a nuclear activity” and “It’s not clear for us if we had to inform the IAEA of the tunnel construction at all,” […]

Iran Update

Saturday, March 5th, 2005

Iranian Threats
From the Tehran Times:

Hasan Rowhani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, said if Europe referred Iran to the UN it would be committing political suicide and would lose its international standing, and warned of the danger of an oil crisis if Tehran were referred to the UN:

The first to suffer would be […]

“A Better Iran Strategy”

Friday, March 4th, 2005

An editorial in today’s Washington Post:

THE CHANCES that the West will succeed in peacefully restraining Iran from building nuclear weapons have been looking dismal at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency this week. The agency’s staff reported that Iran was still not fully cooperating with its investigation into the secret uranium enrichment program […]


Iran’s Bunker Mentality

Friday, March 4th, 2005

From the Associated Press:

Iran is using reinforced materials and tunneling deep underground to store nuclear components -measures meant to deter “bunker busters” and other special weapons in case of attack, diplomats said Thursday. Asked for details on the tunnel, a diplomat familiar with Iran’s dossier said parts of it apparently would run as deep […]

Iranian and Iraqi Update

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

Developments reported by the Wall Street Journal:
A concession to the EU3 expected soon:

President Bush is expected to agree to offer Iran limited incentives to abandon its nuclear ambitions, including dropping U.S. opposition to Iran starting talks to join the WTO. U.S. officials said Mr. Bush is expected to make the decision as soon as […]

More on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

The BBC reports that European countries and the UN have joined the US in criticising Iran for allegedly not keeping a pledge to suspend uranium enrichment activities. The criticisms came a day after the UN’s IAEA presented a report on Iran’s nuclear record to a meeting of member countries. The agency highlighted Iran’s […]

Managing the Middle East Revolution

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

David Ignatius of the Washington Post has penned another excellent column . Earlier this week, he had conversations with Arabs who are part of the new revolution about the challenges that lied ahead.
Lebanon

The crucial issue for Lebanon is the role of Hezbollah. This Shiite militia is the most well-organized political force in the country, […]

Syria and Lebanon: The View from Tehran

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005

It should come as no surprise that the Iranian government has quite a different take on the Lebanese and the Syrians. From the Tehran Times, we have this:

The assassination of Hariri has given Israel and the United States a pretext to target Lebanese parties, and especially Hizbollah, in retaliation. They also aim to foster […]

The WSJ on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

I guess I’m not the only one who concurs with Kissinger’s warnings that using material incentives to persuade Iran not to go nuclear won’t work. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Europeans are being disingenuous again. Sure, they “oppose” Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But they have also made the calculation that they can live with a […]

European Commission: What, Me Worry?

Monday, February 28th, 2005

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:

Emma Udwin, external relations spokeswoman at the European Commission, told reporters in Brussels on 28 February that “Insofar as we have the details,” Udwin said, “our understanding is that the recent deal between Iran and Russia is compatible with our own approach, since both sides have made it clear that they […]

Dealing with Iran

Monday, February 28th, 2005

On the day before our presidential election, I posted these words from Henry Kissinger:
Invariably, proliferating countries claim that they are seeking merely to participate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy or to enhance electricity production or both. Countries determined to prevent proliferation are therefore tempted to provide incentives in the form of guaranteed alternative […]

New Information on Iranian Nuclear Program

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

From Sunday’s Washington Post:

International investigators have uncovered evidence of a secret meeting 18 years ago between Iranian officials and associates of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that resulted in a written offer to supply Tehran with the makings of a nuclear weapons program, foreign diplomats and U.S. officials familiar with the new findings said.
[…]

EU Foreign Policy Chief Is Pessimistic

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Javier Solana, a former Spanish foreign minister and former chief of NATO, is the EU’s high representative on foreign policy. In an interview reported in today’s International Herald Tribune, he dismissed any notion that the US decision to invade Iraq has been vindicated, and voiced doubts about the ability of the transatlantic partnership to […]

European Appeasement

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

This time, it’s Hezbollah. The International Herald Tribune reports that the Bush administration is increasing the pressure on Europe to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and impose economic sanctions. But it has been rebuffed by France and other countries concerned that such an action will anger Iran and backfire.
The administration’s position is […]

Iran and Syria Join Hands

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

From Reuters:

Iran and Syria, both locked in rows with the United States, said on Wednesday they would form a common front to face challenges and threats.
“We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats,” Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said in Tehran after meeting Syrian Prime Minister Naji […]

Iran Plays It Tough

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi has dismissed the EU-3 offer to replace a heavy-water nuclear reactor with a light-water reactor, saying Iran wanted to be a major player in nuclear fuel supply in 15 years. Iran has given indications in the past that it will insist on keeping its heavy water nuclear […]

PA Warns of Hezbollah Threats

Saturday, February 12th, 2005

From Matthew Levitt at The Counterterrorism Blog:
While U.S. and Israeli authorities have been warning of Hezbollah’s increasing support for Palestinian terrorist groups for some time, the issue is suddenly getting serious attention because the Palestinians now concur. “We know that Hizballah has been trying to recruit suicide bombers in the name of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades […]

Rice and Bush on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that the US would not tolerate foot-dragging by Iran in accounting for its suspected nuclear weapons program. As reported in the New York Times, here are her comments:
We have believed all along that Iran ought to be referred to the Security Council and then a variety of steps […]

Rice Scolds Europeans

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

From Deutsche Welle:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice scolded her European allies Wednesday over their handling of nuclear talks with Iran. Rice complained that Britain, France and Germany had failed to make sufficiently clear the threat of UN sanctions if Tehran refused to renounce its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions. Iran’s nuclear […]

Speaking Softly to Iran

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

From the Asia Times:
M K Bhadrakumar begins his column by commenting on the changed tone of US public diplomacy:
The past weekend has few parallels for its extraordinary spectacle of public diplomacy. In a series of calibrated statements, numbering over a dozen within the space of 72 hours or so, senior officials in key positions in […]

Iran’s Rowhani on Nukes

Monday, February 7th, 2005

From the Tehran Times:

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani told Reuters in an interview on Sunday Tehran would accelerate its nuclear program if the United States or Israel attacked its atomic facilities. Rowhani also told Reuters there was nothing the West could offer Tehran that would persuade it to scrap a nuclear program which […]

How the Mullahs See It

Monday, January 24th, 2005

Bush declares cultural and religious war on world
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN — Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi on Sunday branded the U.S. president’s recent statements as a declaration of cultural and religious war against the world.
Asefi also said that Bush’s remarks included many countries and that Bush’s own friends called it a comprehensive war […]

An Anglo-American Split over Iran?

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

The Times reports that UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has drawn up a 200-page dossier that rules out military action against Iran and makes the case for a “negotiated solution” to curbing the ayatollahs’ nuclear ambitions.

According to The Times, Straw will press home the point at a meeting with Condoleezza Rice at a meeting in […]

Cheney on Israel and Iran

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

The following quotations are from Cheney’s interview on MSNBC, as reported by the Jerusalem Post:
If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the […]

Iran’s Khamenei Greets the Hajj Pilgrims

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

The following is a partial transcript of the message of the “Grand Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to the Hajj pilgrims, as published in the Tehran Times. Does our government — does any Western government — know whether he really believe this stuff, or whether it’s just propaganda […]

Iraqi Insurgent Confesses to Aid from Syria and Iran

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

The following are excerpts from the televised confessions of Muayed Al-Nasseri, who commanded Saddam Hussein’s “Army of Muhammad” throughout 2004. The confessions were aired by an Iraqi TV channel that operates from the UAE, Al-Fayhaa TV, and were monitored and translated by the MEMRI TV Project.

Interrogator: “Who are the leaders of the Ba’th Party in […]

Futile Espionage

Monday, January 17th, 2005

The Tehran Times’ reaction to Seymour Hersh’s “The Coming Wars”

U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh has written in the New Yorker magazine that the Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions in Iran to gather information about the country’s nuclear, chemical, and missile sites in preparation for possible air strikes against the Islamic Republic.
[…]

Iran: No Sticks, No Carrots

Monday, January 17th, 2005

Negotiations between the EU and Iran resumed last week, 18 months after the EU broke off earlier talks and two months after Britain, France and Germany struck a bargain in which Tehran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment activities while the two parties discussed a new trade accord.
In the Wall Street Journal’s view,

Negotiations should have […]

On Ending Weapons Inspections

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

For reasons that are so obvious that they don’t need to be stated, the Tehran Times saw fit to publish this article by a Western journalist (James Thurlow):
Weapons inspectors have recently been treated as heroes by the liberal wing of the American media. They have often been able to portray themselves as altruistic seekers after […]

Iran’s Nuclear Demands

Thursday, January 6th, 2005

The Tehran Times reports that an official close to the Iranian nuclear negotiations confirmed statements by Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, that Iran would be making nuclear demands of the EU.
The demands include

The manufacture of two power plants in Dar Khoein, Khuzestan Province, each with the capacity to produce 900 megawatts of electricity, […]

Iran Agrees to Inspection of Parchin Military Base

Thursday, January 6th, 2005

From the New York Times:

Parchin is a major military complex that the US has long suspected of being a secret site for nuclear weapons development. Bush administration officials said that they assumed that if Iran’s military agreed to allow the inspectors to enter the site, it was only because the country had wiped […]

Iranian Uranium

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004

From Reuters:

Iran’s decision to keep preparing raw uranium for enrichment, a step on the way to making nuclear weapons, breaks the spirit though not the letter of its pledge to freeze all such activity, diplomats said on Tuesday.
Under a deal Iran reached with three EU nations to freeze all enrichment activity […]

How Iran Would Fight Back (Follow-Up)

Friday, December 17th, 2004

On Wednesday, I posted excerpts from a lengthy article in the Asia Times describing how Iran would respond if it were attacked by the US.
Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail has posted a review of the same article. Here are his concluding comments:
America’s policy of containment is frightening the Iranian mullahs, and is forcing […]

A Nixonian Moment?

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

Recalling that Nixon’s impeccable anti-communist credentials enabled him to open the door to Red China (as it used to be called), Legal Fiction argues that Bush’s credentials would allow him to open the Iranian door without incurring a hysterical domestic backlash.
While this is probably true, Legal Fiction ignores crucial differences. Establishing diplomatic relations with […]

How Iran Would Fight Back

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

A lengthy article in the Asia Times describes how Iran would respond if it were attacked by the US. The article was written by Kaveh L Afrasiabi, who teaches political science at Tehran University.

A week-long combined air and ground maneuver has just concluded in five of the southern and western provinces of Iran, mesmerizing […]

Iranian Influence on Iraqi Elections

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

John Burns of the New York Times reports that Abdul Aziz al-Hakim may emerge as the country’s most powerful political figure. Hakim heads the list of 228 candidates submitted by a powerful Shiite-led political alliance to Iraq’s electoral commission last week.
Hakim is one of many Iraqi Shiite leaders with close ties to Iran’s ruling […]

Iran Willing to Talk to US About Nukes

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

The Associated Press reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a news conference that talks with Washington were possible:
“If negotiations are on the basis of equality and mutual respect in the same way we are talking to Europeans now, there is no reason not to talk to others,” Kharrazi said when asked whether Tehran […]

How to Approach Iran

Monday, December 13th, 2004

Today’s Washington Post has an article signed by Madeleine Albright and seven former foreign ministers: Robin Cook of Britain, Hubert Vedrine of France, Lamberto Dini of Italy, Lloyd Axworthy of Canada, Niels Helveg Petersen of Denmark, Ana Palacio of Spain and Jozias van Aartsen of the Netherlands.
Here are extensive excerpts from their article:
Foreign ministers from […]

Changing Balance of Power in Iran

Monday, December 13th, 2004

In today’s New York Times, two professors write about the growing prominence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the mullah’s version of a praetorian guard. With the victory of the reformist Mohammad Khatami in the presidential election of 1997, the guard corps expanded its intelligence service, paramilitary ranks and its air and naval capacity. […]

Neutron Iran

Friday, December 10th, 2004

Diplomats interviewed by Agence France Presse say that high-energy neutron experiments that could be either civilian oriented or related to making an atomic bomb are underway in Iran. The experiments have raised suspicions since they are allegedly conducted under military supervision.
A diplomat with close links to intelligence sources said “the combination of the existence […]

Iran Says Pakistan Helping Saudis Develop Nukes

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

Ha’aretz reports that official Iranian sources are claiming that they have information about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signing an agreement in 2003 in which Pakistan promised to help Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
The Iranian reports emphasize that the nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is at an advanced […]

Iran: Carrots and Sticks

Monday, December 6th, 2004

Iran: Carrots and Sticks
On today’s editorial page, the Washington Post weighs in on U.S. and European policies toward Iran:
American and European policies are cancelling each other out:

The European agreement with Iran . . . effectively blocks the Bush administration from taking more forceful action. Meanwhile, the U.S. refusal to cooperate with Europe’s strategy is likely […]

Iran Supports Iraqi Elections

Saturday, December 4th, 2004

From the Tehran Times:

In a meeting with Abdul Aziz Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), President Khatami of Iran said that holding the upcoming election in Iraq will be a great step forward in establishing security and peace in the country there. He also called for […]

Iran Supports Iraqi Elections

Saturday, December 4th, 2004

From the Tehran Times:
In a meeting with Abdul Aziz Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), President Khatami of Iran said that holding the upcoming election in Iraq will be a great step forward in establishing security and peace in the country there. He also called for […]

Iranian Hardliners Reject Nuclear Accord

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

From the Iran Press Service:

. . . after two days of silence, hard liners among the ruling Iranian conservatives went on the offensive, accusing the negotiators of “sell out” and “unconditional surrender” to the Europeans, “their American masters and the Zionist circles”.
“What the Europeans have achieved is the sustained and full closure of all our […]

Iranian Military Sites Off-Limits to IAEA Inspectors

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

UN diplomats have told Reuters that the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran and Lavizan II in northeastern Tehran are legally off limits to the IAEA, which only has the right to monitor civilian nuclear programs.
“The IAEA simply has no authority to go to sites that are not declared nuclear sites,” a diplomat close to […]

Iran: Here We Go Agian

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Only three days after the IAEA Board of Governors gave its stamp of approval to the EU-Iran accord, IAEA inspectors are requesting access to two secret Iranian military sites where intelligence suggests that Tehran’s Ministry of Defense may be working on atomic weapons. As reported in the New York Times, the inspectors base their […]

U.S. and Iran Have a Common Enemy

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

It’s Al-Jazeera! The Tehran Times has a scathing article on the Qatar news organization:

Al-Jazeera officials, on the orders of Zionist agents, are trying to divide Islamic countries and tarnish the image of Islam.
(. . . )
. . . the Al-Jazeera network was founded at exactly the […]

Editorial Reactions to EU-Iran Accord

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

New York Times

The compromise resolution thrashed out this week on Iranian nuclear programs is not enormously satisfying, but it represents the best available alternative.
(…)
Although Iran has now agreed to a temporary suspension of all work on uranium enrichment while it discusses a possible trade agreement with Europe, it has by no means renounced its two-decade-long […]

Iran and EU React to the Accord

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

From the Associated Press (via the Wall Street Journal), the BBC, and Agence France Presse:

Comments of Hassan Rowhani, Iran’s top nuclear official:

We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the US. And that is a great victory.
[The talks were] an historical […]

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Wrong One
Writing in the American Prospect’s weblog, Matthew Yglesias reacts to this statement in an article by Christian Lowe in The Weekly Standard:
A nuclear Iran, however, cannot be tolerated. Iran is well known for its sponsorship of terrorist organizations and has conducted a foreign policy of violence by proxy. The risk that Iran will transfer […]

General Abizaid Warns Iran

Monday, November 29th, 2004

In very blunt terms, including the use of the word “nuclear,” General John Abizaid, head of the US Central Command, has told Iran to mind its own business:
Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be […]

White House Press Briefing: Iran

Monday, November 29th, 2004

Excerpt from today’s briefing:
Q What is the White House on the negotiations with Iran over nuclear matters?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we appreciate and welcome the efforts of our European friends to get Iran to stop its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and stop its nuclear weapons activities. What’s important and critical now is the implementation and verification. […]

EU-Iran Nuclear Accord

Monday, November 29th, 2004

The official IAEA documents are available here (Statement to the Board of Governors), here (Board Resolution), and here (Iran Board Report).
The text of the agreement between the EU and Iran is available here.

U.S. Explores Helping Iranian Democrats

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

The New York Sun reports that the U.S. State Department is looking at ways to reach out to Iranian democrats inside the country to see who would be willing to accept outside support in their efforts to reform and change the Islamic republic. In an interview, Scott Carpenter, the new head of the State […]

Iran-EU Talks Break Off

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Agence France Presse (AFP) has just reported that diplomats are saying that “Informal Iran-EU talks to rescue an agreement on a promised Iranian freeze of key nuclear fuel-making activities broke off, opening the door to possible UN sanctions against Tehran.”

A diplomat interviewed by the AFP who is close to the talks said that
We have no […]

Iran and EU Squabble

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

With the next round of the IAEA meeting scheduled to take place on Monday, the two sides are spending the weekend pointing their fingers at each other.
TEHRAN TIMES
An Iranian nuclear spokesman said that
There are many ambiguities in the European proposal … We are waiting for an answer from the Europeans on our questions before we […]

Israeli Perceptions of Iran

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

A lengthy article in the November 25 issue of the Jerusalem Post provides some useful information on how senior officials in the Israeli government and military perceive the Iranian threat. The officials spoke with the Post on the condition that they not be named.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS

In 1992, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) put the […]

EU-US Dispute on Iranian Nukes

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

The International Herald Tribune reports on EU-US discord at the IAEA meeting:

In a blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to punish Iran for its nuclear activities, the European trio [France, Germany, UK] has rejected several U.S. proposals for a harshly worded resolution against Iran, said diplomats involved in the negotiations.
Among the […]

IAEA’s ElBaradei Reports on Iran

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

In his introductory statement to the IAEA Board of Governors, ElBaradei said that
. . . while we have reached the conclusion that all declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities, the Agency is not yet in a position to conclude that […]

Another Israeli View on Iranian Nukes

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Excerpts from an opinion piece in today’s Ha’aretz:

The West is having difficulty dealing with Iran’s successful tactics. Just as with the Iraq war, it is divided over the approach it should take with Iran. The U.S. is demanding sanctions, including an oil embargo. The EU wants dialogue and diplomacy that will at least slow down […]

EU to Iran: Plutonium’s OK for Now

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

The New York Times reports that the recent agreement between the EU Big Three and Iran leaves Iran free to make plutonium.

Iran is constructing a heavy water reactor that is designed to produce plutonium quite readily, and the agreement doesn’t address that project.
Weapons experts say plutonium is often preferred to enriched uranium for compact warheads […]

Iran: Another Demand

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

From the Associated Press:
According to diplomats at the IAEA meeting in Vienna, the Iranians have said that they want to operate 24 centrifuges for “research purposes.”
Needless to say, “the request casts doubt on Iran’s commitment to dispel international suspicions about its nuclear ambitions.”
A […]


Iran Parliamentarian: Quit the NPT

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

The Tehran Times reports that MP Javad Jahangirzadeh of the Majlis (the Iranaian Parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee stated that
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s threat that Iran’s nuclear dossier would be sent to the UN Security Council if the Paris agreement is not observed and reports by some Western media quoting diplomats as […]

Iran at Sharm-el-Sheikh Confernce

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

From today’s Tehran Times:

Iran, represented by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, said it backed any plan that would lead to a departure of U.S. troops from Iraq and called on Washington to respond publicly to Tehran’s offers to help it leave the “quagmire”.
“We support all initiatives that aim to bring an end […]

As the Mullahs See It

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Today’s Tehran Times, which toes the Iranian government’s line, has two important articles — one on the last week’s agreement with the EU, and the other on the Iraqi elections scheduled for January 30.
The European Union’s First Test on Iran
Iran now expects the EU to take three steps:

Iran’s nuclear dossier should be removed from the […]

It’s Perfectly Understandable . . .

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

. . . that Hitler would denounce the Versailles Treaty. After all, that treaty imposed a punitive peace and removed Germany from its status as a Great Power.
. . . that Stalin would impose communist dictatorships in eastern Europe after World War II ended. After all, the Soviet Union needed buffer states to […]

Surrounded

Saturday, November 20th, 2004

Hat Tip: Needlenose via chez Nadezhda.

And they say they don’t want nukes.

How Many Nukes Could Iran Make?

Friday, November 19th, 2004

From the Guardian, here’s some numbers:

Iran has huge reserves of raw uranium and has announced plans to extract more than 40 tons a year.
That amount, if converted to uranium hexafluoride and repeatedly spun in centrifuges, could theoretically yield more than 200 pounds of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, enough for about five […]

An Israeli View of the Iranian Nuclear Threat

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Caroline Glick’s article in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post on the Iranian nuclear program and the agreement between Iran and the EU’s Big Three is worth a close reading.
Glick begins by asserting that the agreement “signals that the diplomatic option of dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program no longer exists.” To substantiate this claim, she […]

Iran’s Nuclear Deception

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Yesterday I noted that an Iranian opposition group — the National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI) — claimed that it had new evidence that Iran is producing enriched uranium at a covert Defense Ministry facility in Tehran. Today, the NCRI held simultaneous news conferences in Paris and Vienna. In addition to discussing […]

New Questions about Iranian Nukes

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

On the heels of the Iranian government entering into an agreement with England, France and Germany to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, an Iranian opposition group says it has new evidence that Iran is producing enriched uranium at a covert Defense Ministry facility in Tehran that has not been disclosed to United Nations inspectors.
The group, […]

Iran Pulls Another Fast One

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

The European appeasement of Iran continues, as the Big Three of the European Union have offered the mullahs a package of economic incentives in return for a temporary, non-legally binding promise to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. By so doing, they have all but eliminated the possibility that the UN Security Council […]

Iranian Nuclear Threat

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

In an editorial, The New York Times reports that the prestigious International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) has concluded that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been emboldened by the difficulties the U.S. and its coalition partners are having in Iraq. According to the IISS, the Iranians believe that the U.S. and the major European powers lack […]

Would You Believe . . .

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004

Iran’s hardline Basij militia has written to UN secretary general Kofi Annan to ask if the Islamic republic can send observers to the US presidential election in November, a government newspaper said on Monday.
“By this symbolic request, we want to ridicule the so-called democratic slogans of the American leaders,” a Basij official, Said Toutunshian, told […]