Friday, January 24, 2014

24-Jan-14: Iranian regime reminds the rest of us how to talk to them and what not to expect

Working in the bowels of the Iranian nuclear effort [Image Source]
The so-called Joint Plan of Action was implemented, according to official reports, on January 20. In light of that, we offer a simple question: 
How confident should we be that the nuclear threat from the Iranian regime is being well managed?
CNN ran a startling article ["Hassan Rouhani: Sanctions against Iran are illegal"] yesterday which serves as a teaser for an interview they will run Sunday on the "Fareed Zakaria GPS" interview program. What caught our attention is the quoted comments of the smiling Iranian president. Hassan Rouhani clarifies when and how his government will agree to the destruction of its key nuclear-material fabrication capability. Answer: 
"Not under any circumstances... We have managed to secure very considerable prowess with regards to the fabrication of centrifuges... We are not afraid of threats... And the language of threats is ineffective when it comes to Iran. The language they need to choose should be a legal one, a respectful tone of voice when addressing the Iranian people. " [CNN]
Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, speaking separately, says in the same article that the Obama administration has "mischaracterized" Iran's concessions. 
"The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments..." Iran will not be dismantling its centrifuges. “We will not accept any limitations," Rouhani said Iran's need for medical isotopes necessitated a heavy water reactor.
(You can learn a surprising lot about people by the public events with which they choose to associate themselves. Zarif was in the news ten days ago paying homage at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, a multi-murderer and master practitioner of the dark arts of terror and reputedly "the leader of Iran’s global terror network". This is not a man who is shy about declaring his positions.) 

Rouhani in Davos this week [Image Source]
Fareed Zakaria who hosts the interview program says - not so surprisingly - that Rouhani's statement i
a diplomatic "train wreck... The Iranian conception of what the deal is going to look like and the American conception now look like they are miles apart. The Iranian conception seems to be they produce as much nuclear energy as they want, but it is a civilian program, and you can have as much monitoring as inspections as you want. The American position is that they have to very substantially scale back the enrichment of uranium and the production of centrifuges. Now, for the fist time you have the president of Iran unequivocally saying, there will be no destruction of centrifuges. He also make clear in the interview with me that the two heavy water reactors would continue in operation... I'm not even quite sure what they're going to talk about if these are the opening positions. And it's very hard to walk back from as absolute is a position as the president of Iran laid out." [CNN]
This Wall Street Journal article from earlier in the week does a good job of analyzing just how much "mischaracterization" about those Iranian concessions has been done by the US government.

It's always valuable to remind ourselves of the essential role the Iranian political leadership plays in the ongoing expansion of murderous terror around the world. A partial catalogue (via the Council on Foreign Relations) of what Iranian terrorism has wrought in the past is here. What it's going to do in the future is the deep concern of some of us. We have to hope the US leadership is among those who are worried.

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