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November 15, 2006

Your Move On Iran, Mr. President

Topics: Iran

The latest report on Iran from the International Atomic Energy Agency, circulated to diplomats in Vienna on Tuesday, shows that Iran has once again not only failed to comply with the demands of the international community, as expressed by the United Nations Security Council, they are doing what Kenneth R. Timmerman describes at - "Translated into Brooklyn English, flipping us the bird":

The IAEA report documented that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium on a large-scale in defiance of UN Security Council resolution 1696. It also said that IAEA inspectors had found stashes of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium hidden at an Iranian nuclear waste site.

Both materials are directly useful in building atomic weapons but cannot be used in Iran's declared nuclear power program. (Download a PDF file of the complete report here).

UN Security Council resolution 1696, passed on July 31, gave Iran until the end of last August to suspend all enrichment and reprocessing-related activities in a verifiable manner. If Iran complied, the resolution opened the possibility of economic aid and technology assistance. But if Iran failed to comply, it called for economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Nearly three months have passed since that deadline. Instead of complying, Iran's leaders have chosen open defiance - bolstered in no small way by the support they have received from Russia, China, and IAEA Secretary General Mohammad ElBaradei, whose rosy pronouncements of Peace in Our Time would be comic if the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran were not so real.

In their latest reply to polite questions from Mr. ElBaradei's IAEA, the Iranians said they have no intention of cooperating further with the Agency until "the nuclear dossier is returned back in full in the framework of the Agency."

But just in case we weren't able or willing to separate out this message from the diplomatic cotton candy, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did us all a favor by clarifying his regime's intentions in remarks on Tuesday.

"I'm very hopeful that we will be able to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year," he said. (The Persian calendar year ends on March 20.)

"Initially, they (the U.S. and its allies) were very angry," Ahmadinejad said. "Today, they have finally agreed to live with a nuclear Iran, with an Iran possessing (the whole) nuclear fuel cycle."

Nuclear experts in the United States, Israel, and Europe agree that mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle will give Iran the ability to make nuclear weapons virtually unimpeded by international restraints. No wonder Ahmadinejad is so happy, and no wonder he continues to defy the IAEA. Until now, no one has made Iran pay a price for its defiance.

Timmerman goes on to call our attention to the following key facts:

Tehran's leaders are betting that the United States fears Iran's long reach, that we fear Iran's ability to inflict pain on U.S. forces in Iraq, and on U.S. allies elsewhere in the Middle East and Europe through terrorist proxies and missile attacks.

If Iran has succeeded in deterring the United States of America even before it has acquired nuclear weapons, what kind of reach will they have once they can field a nuclear arsenal?

We still have options other than a military strike. As I have advocated many times in this space, I believe our best option is to develop a comprehensive plan to help the Iranian people to get rid of this wretched regime, before it causes more harm to them, to Iran's neighbors, and to the world at large.

But the one option we do not have is to do nothing.

The nuclear clock is ticking, as Ahmadinejad himself now admits.

It's your move, Mr. President.

However, with a Democratic Congress now in power, the president has already waited far too long to take action to protect the U.S. from Islamic atomic bombs being developed by Iran. The idea that we still have time to "develop a comprehensive plan to help the Iranian people to get rid of this wretched regime, before it causes more harm to them, to Iran's neighbors, and to the world at large, is ludicrous. That time has already been lost. We either bring Ahmadinejad's Iran to its knees militarily - now, or it's going to be curtains for the West. Indeed, the nuclear clock is ticking, and the time is rapidly running out to act.

The problem now is not only that it's the president's move and he isn't moving, but that the American voters have virtually assured their own self destruction by creating a president with no power to defend us.

Posted by Richard at November 15, 2006 10:25 AM

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