October 11, 2005

En Garde


Last Friday, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. Iran Press News posted an AFP story stating that Iran fears an emboldened IAEA after Nobel prize. And today FoxNews reports that diplomats say Iran may compromise on nukes to avoid U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Besides seeking access to two military sites, the [IAEA] agency also wants to interview military officials thought to be associated with what Iran calls a purely civilian nuclear program. ...

Iran strongly denies assertions from the United States and its allies that its nuclear program is a cover for a weapons program or that its military is involved in atomic activities.

But is there any reason to believe this isn't more of Iran's "cheat and retreat" delay tactics? No. In fact, other news last week indicates there is even more reason for concern. The Washington Times reported that, contrary to public statements by the regime, the Iranian military has effectively taken control of nuclear program.

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has placed the military firmly in control of his nation's nuclear program, undercutting his government's claim that the program is intended for civilian use, according to a leading opposition group.

Leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the force created specifically to defend the 1979 Islamic revolution, now dominate Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the country's top foreign policy-making body under the constitution.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, a little-known former mayor of Tehran before his surprise election in July, is a former IRGC commander, as is new council Secretary-General Ali Larijani, who has taken the lead in negotiations about Iran's nuclear programs.

Revolutionary Guard commanders also have taken charge of the council's internal security, strategy and political posts, according to a report issued by the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran. A Revolutionary Guard veteran even serves as the council's press spokesman.

The simply fact is Iran cannot reconcile a "purely civilian nuclear program" with its weekly calls for "Death to America!"

UPDATE -- Oct. 12: From The Telegraph: Now we know the truth about Iran, we must act (via TIA Daily).

When Ahmadinejad addressed the UN general assembly last month, far from offering a compromise on the nuclear issue, he laid into the US and its allies, including Britain, accusing them of sponsoring terrorism. Mr Straw's response? To reassure the Iranians that the crisis between Iran and the West would "not be resolved by military means, let's be clear about that". And even when the IAEA finally agreed to refer Iran to the security council, the timing and manner of reporting Iran was deliberately left open "to allow room for more negotiation", as one IAEA official explained.

Mr ElBaradei's disinclination to make Iran fulfil its international obligations is, of course, one of the reasons that he has been awarded the Nobel peace prize, a decision that will have the mullahs falling about with laughter in Teheran this weekend. This, after all, was the same ElBaradei who said he had no evidence that Libya was building an atom bomb until Colonel Gaddafi saw the light after the Iraq war and publicly renounced his nuclear weapons programme.

Posted by Forkum at October 11, 2005 05:29 PM