Iran Set to Renew Enrichment in March: Let the Extortion Games Begin
The Word Unheard out of Tehran is that the Iranian regime is threatening (already) to resume uranium enrichment in March and thus abandoning the agreement in place between the regime and the EU/E3 (France-Germany-Spain) and the IAEA. As previously noted, Iran was calling for the EU to 'comply' even before the ink had met the paper on what eventually became the signed agreement.
When the text of the existing agreement was read by The Word Unheard, three things were crystal clear. First, that the EU/E3 were willfully blind and hoping against hope that something, anything positive would result. Second, that Tehran intended to use its illicit nuclear program as high-torque economic leverage bordering on blackmail. Third, that (as in Iraq before) concrete weapons verification would prove impossible, rendering the premise of any agreement worth significantly less than the paper and ink used to print it.
As of today, we can officially state that the illusion of any border has evaporated and a blatant and perpetual 90-day blackmail cycle has begun. In a report from Parisa Hafezi of Reuters:
Iran may resume uranium enrichment -- which can be used to make atomic bombs -- in March if talks with the European Union fail to yield satisfactory progress, a senior Iranian security official said Monday.
Even if the talks go well, Hossein Mousavian told Reuters Tehran was only prepared to extend until June the enrichment freeze it began in late November in an effort to disprove U.S. accusations it is seeking nuclear weapons.
"The outcome of the talks will have a great impact on Iran's decision," said Mousavian, a member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team with the EU and head of the foreign policy committee on the Supreme National Security Council.
"If the talks end without any result, March itself could be the date for resuming enrichment.
"If the outcome is really fruitful ... and develops in a direction of comprehensive and strategic cooperation between Iran and Europe, there will be a chance of extending the suspension for three more months."
In effect, the Iranian regime was saying, “Show me the money.”
"The outcome of the talks will have a great impact on Iran's decision." Translation: Pay up and pay up now or we will stop being good and go back to being bad and dangerous. (Assuming anyone was fool enough to take them at face value to begin with.)
But note how ‘negotiator’ concluded (and here’s where the veil drops)…
"If the outcome is really fruitful ... there will be a chance of extending the suspension for three more months." Translation: Even in the best case scenario, this is a perpetual 90-day cycle. There is no such thing as a long-term agreement.
Some may call it blackmail by Iran. Some may call it extortion by Iran. The Word Unheard calls it the fool-hardy fruits of the EU/E3 lunacy.
Of course, Jaques Chirac ‘warned’ Iran to keep the suspension in place…or what, Chirac? Are the French threatening to surrender again? Chirac getting stern with Iran can be likened to Pee Wee Herman talking trash to Mike Tyson…from a window across the street and upstairs…with the door locked.
"Countries which respect their international obligations in terms on non-proliferation and show proof of the peaceful nature of their activities should be able to benefit from technologies that are allowed under international rules," he said.
"But no weakness can be shown to those who renege on their commitments," he said.
Well, if that is the case, you had better step away from the podium, Jaques. Once you figure out that little Ivory Coast thing, then we'll give you a call on Iran. OK?
Regarding Iran, the EU/E3 took a seat at the poker table fully dressed for the part but negligent of the fact that they were sitting at a Jacks or Better / Progressive Pot table…and they let Iran supply the cards for the game.
Cards? What Cards?
Iran’s queen of spades pulled from the sleeve: “You can inspect the dirt around the Parchin reactor facility, but you may not test the equipment.”
“The discussion is not about visiting military installations,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said yesterday.
“The IAEA had asked to take environmental samples from the complex’s green spaces,” Asefi said, referring to landscaped areas outside the Parchin facility.
The United States suspects Iran has been using the military complex to develop high-explosive components for nuclear weapons.
“To show that nothing other than peaceful nuclear activities are carried out in the Islamic Republic of Iran, we agreed to allow the taking of environmental samples from the green spaces in the complex,” Asefi said.
Translation: To show that nothing but peaceful nuclear activities are carried out, you can inspect our Green Spaces. To conceal that we are lying our asses off, stay away from our Not-So-Green equipment.
Now there are technical issues that make testing samples of dirt and interior ‘green areas’ fairly reliable (though not absolutely conclusive). But that misses the larger point. Are we not familiar with weapons inspections cat and mouse games already? Have we not been down this road before?
Is it not possible (indeed probable) that Iran has more sets of centrifuges than declared and therefore more than one set per reactor? Is it not likely that even with inspections, tainted centrifuges from the enrichment process are subjected to the ‘musical chairs’ treatment from reactor to reactor and enrichment occurs even during inspections? All Tehran needs is some degree of deniability that continues to buy them time until the weapons grade material is developed. The deniability need not be absolute, just enough to fuel another round of talks if questioned. It does not take any leap of faith to conclude that the EU/E3 and IAEA would be all to willing to talk some more in any event. The absence of the actual centrifuge evidence provides that degree of deniability that buys time.
If The Word Unheard can figure that out, why can’t the EU/E3 and the IAEA?
Answer: They can. They just don’t want to.
My Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have…
That brings us promptly to one final point: Are we not familiar already with the failure of the IAEA, especially under the guidance of El Baredai?
Let us not forget that it was under Muhammed El Baredai's ‘guidance’ that the regimes of North Korea, Pakistan, India, Lybia, Syria and yes, Iran, either began nuclear weapons programs, made great strides in development & proliferation and/or actually achieved weapons production. And lets not forget how one A.Q. Kahn managed to ‘totally evade’ El Baredai’s radar screen. While worthy of note here, that’s another story for another series of posts.
You Are The Weakest Link...
It looks at long last like the US is not sitting idly by hoping for ever-elusive IAEA/El Baredai progress. Growing tired of El Baredai’s tendency to give certain regimes the benefit of the doubt (namely Iran), it looks like a real push is underway to unseat the IAEA chief before he can be selected to an unprecedented 3rd term in a two-term limited post.
While El Baredai is tied up shuffling paper, negotiating particulars about dead-end inspections and generally not confirming a solitary concrete thing about Iran’s programs (declared or undeclared), he apparently is not too busy to declare that the rest of the planet’s nations should freeze all production of their uranium enrichment facilities.
In comments published today in a Japanese newspaper, ElBaradei said that a freeze could last for five years or “until we have completed our work on how we can have an international arrangement for the fuel cycle.”
“We have enough capacity in the world for enrichment or reprocessing,” he said. “We should not forget the commitment by the weapons states to move toward nuclear disarmament.”
The overall goal may indeed be honorable in the eyes of some. However, The Word Unheard begs no forgiveness for bluntly stating that this ‘weapons state’ chooses not to be lectured by El Baredai about nuclear disarmament while he flounders about ineptly as other states quasi-openly pursue nuclear armament with alacrity.
US Sanctions Chinese for Iranian WMD & Missile Assistance
There can be no discussion of terror-sponsoring states developing Nuclear/Biological/Chemical weapons or missiles without China surfacing as a supplier. The Bush administration has just slapped sanctions on a few Chinese companies (government owned, of course, so calling them a company by our definition is inaccurate) for assisting Iran in the development of missiles and WMD, though precisely what was not specified.
The Word Unheard will keep abreast of Iranian developments as they occur while observing EU and IAEA actions with the same reluctant, morbid amusement one has when observing otherwise sensible idots run for their lives, willingly ahead of raging bulls in Spain's Running of the Bulls.
Fully one week after the original posting above was made (11Jan05), the New York Times has just published an 18Jan05 story announcing that "U.S. Is Punishing 8 Chinese Firms for Aiding Iran".
The White House made no public announcement of the penalties, and the State Department placed a one-page notice on page 133 of The Federal Register early this month listing eight Chinese companies affected. The notice kept classified the nature of the technology they had exported.
Since the Federal Register announcement, the penalties have been noted on some Web sites that concentrate on China and proliferation issues.
Aren't The Times writers just the diligent ones, finding that all the way down on page 133 of the registry. That sneaky White House never told them, either. Way to work it, fellas.