The newly “elected” government in Iran made three announcements last week that prove, once again, the showcase of cynicism that passes for policy pronouncements in Tehran is also a steep descent into the surreal world of the bizarre and tragi-comic.
First, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced that his country will urge the UN nuclear watchdog at upcoming meetings to enact rules that will prohibit military strikes against atomic facilities around the world.
Second, Tehran reversed a year-long ban to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the nuclear reactor in Arak. It also said it would restore the ability of the IAEA that it had previously curtailed to monitor the vast nuclear complex in Natanz.
Third, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the appointment of Ahmad Vahidi as his defence minister. Vahidi is suspected of having been a key participant in planning and approving the attack against the AMIA Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Virtually every country in the western world is convinced that the Iranian nuclear program is an elaborate cover for an elaborate, clandestine effort at building nuclear weapons. In an act of supremely impudent, even theatric, effrontery, it’s now asking the international community (the IAEA) to prevent the dismantling of that program, in effect enjoining the United Nations to become complicit in its secret, dangerous ambitions.
In return for the desired insurance policy from the UN prohibiting the destruction of the Iranian nuclear facilities, Tehran is promising to let IAEA inspectors better inspect those facilities. But observers are dismissive of Iranian promises. As American officials stated loudly last week, Teheran has and continues to systematically violate its current commitments to the IAEA regarding its nuclear activities. In its next report to the UN, the IAEA is expected to confirm that the uranium enrichment activities at the main Iranian reactor in Natanz have expanded dangerously, illegally and precipitously.
But Iran’s pretence to civility and co-operation can be seen for what it is – a sham and a shameful fraud – in the appointment of Vahidi as defence minister. It offends decency and conscience. There is an outstanding Interpol warrant warrant for Vahidi’s arrest. Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman said of the appointment that “Iran has always protected terrorists, giving them government posts, but I think never one as high as this one.” The current AMIA president, Guillermo Borger, described the Vahidi appointment as “shameless and insulting.”
The United States, Britain, France and Germany are expected to meet on Sept. 2 to discuss the next round of sanctions against Iran. It may be the last opportunity to effect a non-military halt to Tehran’s drive to build nuclear weapons.
Let no one be fooled by Iran’s latest diplomatic forays.
Let no one be fooled about the dire consequences of the failure to stop the Iranian race toward nuclear armament.