Guest_ikonboard Posted November 12, 2004 Share Posted November 12, 2004 Appeasing Iran November 12, 2004; So can anyone explain the difference between the nuclear deal the Europeans are now waiting for -- indeed, practically begging -- Iran to accept and the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea? The latter, readers will remember, was the Clinton Administration's failed attempt to buy off Pyongyang by providing it with fuel oil and a couple of light-water reactors in exchange for the North's promise to give up its nuclear weapons program. But as usual, appeasement didn't work. In 2002 the North booted out U.N. inspectors, turned off the TV cameras monitoring its nuclear facilities, and began demanding even larger payoffs to stay out of the nuclear business. North Korea had been running a secret program in violation of the Agreed Framework and is now estimated to possess as many as nine warheads. Fast-forward to the current Franco-British-German proposal for Iran, and you find ... well, offers of light-water reactors and various economic payoffs in exchange for Iran's promise to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment activities. That's right, only temporarily, since Iran is demanding to be recognized soon as a perfectly normal nuclear nation. That's pretty audacious for the world's No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism, but it's not surprising given the way the world has responded thus far to its 20 years of nuclear deception. Let's start with the Europeans, who are actually credulous enough to believe that there is some doubt over whether "hardliners" in Tehran will accept their generous offer. An exquisitely timed Monday story in Iran's Jomhuri-e-Islami newspaper appeared to denounce the country's delegation for dealing with the "three traitor European countries." But the appearance of any dissension in the Iranian ranks is a fiction of the highest order. Last February Iran's ruling mullahs abandoned any pretense of running a democracy by disqualifying thousands of candidates for parliament (including scores of sitting deputies) and fully consolidating their control over the press. Now that press is playing Brer Rabbit, begging not to be thrown into the same briar patch where Pyongyang developed the bomb. But we never expected much from Europe in the first place. Far more disappointing is that the White House has done little or nothing to support the work of Undersecretary John Bolton's non-proliferation team at the State Department. It can't have escaped the mullahs' notice that President Bush failed to mention them during his September speech at the United Nations. That was a shocking omission given the extent to which the Iranian nuclear program ought to occupy the Security Council over the coming year, and an unfortunate indicator of where White House priorities don't lie. There isn't any doubt among serious observers that Iran is running a bomb program. In 2002 an Iranian resistance group exposed two decades of Iranian nuclear double-dealing with the International Atomic Energy Agency by revealing a secret enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy-water plant at Arak. In October 2003 a European-brokered inspections deal offered the mullahs a chance to come clean but they continued to deceive. Among other pieces of information Iran has since failed to volunteer is the fact that they possess advanced P-2 centrifuges of the type peddled by Pakistani A-bomb merchant A.Q. Khan. They've been found to be working with polonium-210, an element whose primary use is as a bomb trigger. And IAEA inspectors have found traces of uranium enriched far beyond the grade needed for use in a civilian power reactor. Consider also Iran's rapid advance in the field of medium- to long-range ballistic missile technology, which surely isn't meant for carrying conventional warheads. The only question is whether the world is going to do anything about all this. The Europeans are essentially arguing that any deal with the mullahs is better than nothing, given Tehran's repeated threats to withdraw altogether from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But what's really more dangerous: immediate clarity regarding Iran's real intentions, or the country going nuclear with the quiet blessing of the IAEA and the permanent discrediting of the multilateral arms control system? President Bush needs to pay some overdue attention to Iran now that the election is over, and put the above case to his friend and ally Tony Blair. The model for disarming Iran ought to be the process the two countries have just gone through with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi: unambiguous cooperation, including the handover of all nuclear and WMD-related facilities. Anything less -- like the Agreed Framework Part II now on offer -- deserves only one response in Washington and London: No deal. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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