Today the news is that IAEA inspectors have left Iran after two days, having declared their mission a failure. This was both because the Iranians refused to engage with the inspectors in addressing international nuclear concerns, and because the mission — in spite of making their request twice — was denied access to a key military site at Parchin.
“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin. We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said.
But “a constructive spirit” is of no value in dealing with these guys, who are playing hardball. Did the IAEA mission really think it would be?
All of this makes me wonder if Secretary of State Clinton would still wax enthusiastic now about the letter sent to Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy head, by Iran, just days ago, suggesting “step by step negotiations on a principle of reciprocity.”
Amir Taheri — author and expert on terrorism, originally from Iran — writing in the NYPost, explains “Why Talks Are Worse Than Futile.”
Taheri alludes to the fact that — Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili’s letter aside — “Ahmadinejad had already declared last week, as he unveiled the first nuclear-fuel rod manufactured in Iran, ‘Our nuclear program is not a subject for negotiations… The Islamic Republic has already become a member of the nuclear club.'”
Ponders Taheri, what would Ashton talk about when meeting with Jalili? In response to his own question, he explains that Jalili, in his letter proposed “a package of measures” focused on matters such as ending poverty.
“According to the Tehran daily Kayhan, published by ‘Supreme Guide’ Ali Khamenei, diplomatic moves don’t alter the regime’s strategic goals. In an editorial yesterday, Kayhan recalled that the Khomeinist movement’s ‘fixed strategic goal’ is regime change in the United States. (Emphasis added)
“The editorial said: ‘Our late Imam [Khomeini] openly spoke of raising the flag of Islam on top of the palaces of arrogant power, notably the White House . . . as the goal and purpose of the Islamic Revolution.’ (Emphasis added)
“More: “’have presented the Jerusalem-occupying regime [Israel] as a cancerous tumor that has to be wiped from the world’s political map. We have intervened to support Hezbollah and Hamas in their respective wars against Israel.’
“It concludes: ‘The final goal, the fixed strategy of Islamic Iran, is the destruction of the capitalist system.’ (Emphasis added)
I hope some Americans are listening! What we need is a critical mass of Americans sufficiently alarmed to push their government into meaningful action.
In an interview with CNBC news, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed that Iran is spending billions of dollars to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles:
“We estimate that in 2-3 years they will have the first inter-continental ballistic missiles that can reach the east coast of America.
“Their aim is clearly not only to be able to threaten Israel and Middle East, but to put a direct nuclear ballistic threat to Europe and to the United States of America.”
The two experts below examine the efficacy of sanctions against Iran, as currently in place. This material merits a careful reading, and broad sharing.
In “Stopping Iran: Still Too Much Noise and Too Little Action,” Professor Eytan Gilboa, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, at Bar-Ilan University, says (all emphasis added):
“There seems to be a lot of psychological warfare at play in the approach of international leaders to the Iranian nuclear conundrum. Public statements of various tones and intensity have of late been made by Israeli, American, European, and even Iranian policymakers. Yet, mixed messages are continuously being broadcast and international powers remain disunited on how to halt Iran’s nuclear program. It is unsurprising then that all of this ‘talk’ has led to no action…
“Ross and other senior American and European officials have argued that the existing sanctions are already working by imposing hardships on the Iranian government and people, thus opening a path for diplomacy. However, their mistake is this: To be really effective it is not enough just to create hardships. To be effective, the government of Iran must conclude that the cost inflicted by the sanctions threatens its survival and is greater than the benefits of becoming a nuclear power. This hasn’t yet happened.
“The only thing that might influence the Ayatollahs to alter their nuclear plans is a combination of credible military threats and severe sanctions. But, when the military threat is made to appear very vague – due to mixed and contradictory statements by world leaders – and when the decision to impose tough sanctions on Iran is delayed by months and doesn’t include some of the superpowers, Iran can be expected to continue to develop its nuclear weaponry without too much worry or disruption.
“Unfortunately, the West is not yet truly determined to halt the Iranian nuclear weapons program.”
In “Sanctions Against Iran – Not An Option,” Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger writes (all emphasis in his original e-mail containing this material):
“The term ‘effective sanctions’ against Iran on the one hand and global political reality on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron, playing into the hands of Iran.
“Effective sanctions require the full cooperation of Russia and China, two strategic rivals of the US…They do not fully cooperate with sanctions invoked against Iran, and assist the Tehran regime, as do some European countries. Furthermore, Japan, India and Turkey have subordinated compliance with sanctions to their trade relations with Iran, as have some countries in Latin America and Europe.
“Each new sanction against Iran requires several months for effectiveness assessment. Thus, it extends the time available to Iran to develop its nuclear capabilities, as well as to acquire critical technologies and systems from North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or China…
“The preoccupation with ‘effective sanctions’ and diplomacy ignores the gravity and immediacy of the clear, present and devastating threat to the US, posed by a nuclear Iran, independent of Israel’s existence and policies.
“Just as Bin-Laden, who had ample opportunities to hit Israel, preferred to hit the US and Western Europe, so does Iran consider the US and NATO (and Saudi Arabia) its top enemies, and most formidable obstacles in the way of assuming domination of the Persian Gulf, and therefore its top targets.
“A nuclear Iran would cause a meltdown of pro-US Gulf regimes through a violent regime change, and/or via a dramatic policy change by the currently pro-US Gulf regimes. Iran’s nuclear intimidation of Central Asian (former USSR) countries would tilt them toward Teheran or Moscow and against the US.
“A nuclear Iran would accelerate nuclear proliferation in the Mid-East, the role model of instability, unpredictability and violent regime change – a nightmare scenario for global sanity…
“A nuclear Iran would intimidate Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf States, threatening the normal operations of their oil infrastructure, dramatically influencing oil quota and price, interfering with – and possibly disrupting – the supply of oil, directly impacting the price at the pump and the level of unemployment in the US and the West.
“A nuclear Iran would bolster its existing beachheads in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico, which host Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran’s elite extraterritorial Quds Force…
“A nuclear Iran would provide a significant tailwind to scores, or hundreds, of sleeper cells in the US and Canada, as well as to anti-US global Islamic terrorism.
“The highly exaggerated cost of military preemption – by the US or by Israel – would be dwarfed by the aforementioned threats of a nuclear Iran, in addition to the nuclear threat which would hover above US soldiers in the Gulf and above the US mainland. A regime which sacrificed 500,000 of its own children in order to clear minefields, during the 1980-1988 war against Iraq, is capable of launching nuclear warheads, irrespective of the cost.
“An effective preemption should not be limited to critical nuclear facilities, but should simultaneously devastate Iran’s missile and air defense capabilities, thus minimizing the scope of Iran’s retaliation. An effective preemption would not include the occupation of Iran, thus distinguishing itself from Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran, which coalesced all Iranians against the threat to their sovereignty. An effective preemption is a prerequisite to regime-change through domestic opposition, which was disillusioned by the lack of Western support in 2009.
“Refraining from preemption would gravely destabilize the Mid-East and beyond. The only effective way to prevent (Iran’s nuclearization and its devastating cost) is to preempt!
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.