Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Iran Watch

There is continued skepticism on Iran’s commitment to freeze development of its nuclear weapons program. A hawkish Christian Lowe’s in The Weekly Standard says:

Iran's history of waging war through terrorist proxy forces, its decrepit military, the growing strength of the United States in the region, and lessons learned from a host of regimes who developed covert nuclear programs lead to the suspicion that Iran will likely forge ahead with its nuclear weapons program despite its recent pledge not to. In the August 2004 edition of the U.S. Army War College's professional journal, Parameters, Richard Russell contends that Iran's mullahs believe that the path to security is paved with the bomb.

Russell--a professor of Near-East and South-Asian security studies at Washington's National Defense University and an adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University--believes that a confrontation with Iran is more than likely.

"The good news is that assertive multilateral diplomacy still has some running room for negotiating a stall or derailment of Iran's nuclear weapons program," Russell writes in his article titled Iran in Iraq's Shadow: Dealing with Tehran's Nuclear Weapons Bid. "The bad news is that the prospects are dim for achieving this end without the resort to force over the coming years."

Surprisingly, The Nation is featuring an informative article on the Iran hostage crisis. Though it is pro-engagement, I think the author, Reza Aslan, would be against military action. However, it takes jabs at Nixon, Carter, for supporting the Shah (in retrospect possibly a mistake, but as part of a Cold War equation in made some sense), and Reagan for cutting deals with the Islamic fundamentalist. More importantly it ends with a brief discussion of how many student revolutionaries from 1979 have shifted away from tenets of the imams:

For most Iranians, however, and particularly for most of those who planned, took part in or supported the attack on the US Embassy, there is no debate. November 4 is an albatross slung around their necks, a bitter reminder of a revolution gone awry and a seemingly permanent obstacle that stands in the way of pursuing a rapprochement with the United States that nearly every Iranian--conservative or reformist--desperately desires.

I hope there is some truth to this and that we can find a way to quickly work with them on the “regime change” Michael Leeden suggested, but this not going to happen if we keep waiting around for the EU and the UN to finish its paper pushing. We need to take action and take it now. The negotiations are more than likely a stall tactic and are only bolstering the conservatives in Iraq:

"The Islamic republic has not renounced the nuclear fuel cycle, will never renounce it and will use it," top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani told a news conference.

"We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the United States. And that is a great victory," he added.

I hope the Europeans negotiators realize that talk like this from theocratic Islamic fundamentalists seeking a nuke is not in the free world’s best interest. It’s time to take a much more aggressive stance against Iran and to support those with in Iran who want democracy.


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