Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Political Bomb

It seems lately that the politics surrounding Iran's nuclear weapons program, or lack thereof, is getting more dangerous than the bombs themselves.

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday welcomed the U.S. decision to "correct" its claim that Tehran has an active nuclear weapons program, while Israel's defense minister said Israeli intelligence believes Iran is still trying to develop an atomic weapon.

I have an issue with the word 'trying', seeing as most nuclear weapon information can be achieved by Internet capability and, as everyone knows, the French will sell a bomb to damn near anybody. I believe Israel has the most advanced intelligence network in the world, bar none, but I can't help but think that the politicians who interpret the data may be self serving. The sky is falling, as it were, brings billions in aid to Israel each year. Please, don't get me wrong. I'm probably more pro-Israel than the average American but history shows that while Israel is correct to perceive a threat, if George Jr is willing to admit a mistake then we most definitely made a glaring error. Israel may wish to be more specific in its claims, perhaps involving itself a little closer with the intelligence gathering efforts of its allies.

A U.S. intelligence assessment released Monday reversed earlier claims that Iran had restarted its weapons program in 2005 after suspending it in 2003 because of international pressure

This brings to question as to how we came to the original false conclusion in the first place. It lends weight to the argument of those who say that George Jr was using this issue as a starting platform for a war against Iran. To my embarrassment, I held the same opinion. But we apparently were wrong and other reliable sources agree.
In Vienna, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said the U.S. finding is consistent with its own.
"Although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities, the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran," International Atomic Energey Agency director-general Mohamed ElBaradei said.

And while the new findings should be somewhat of a relief, others advise a more cautious approach, opting instead to say we should be vigilant as the sky MAY fall.
Iran had this to say:

Iran quickly welcomed the report, published on Monday, as a vindication of its long-standing claim that its nuclear program had only peaceful civilian aims.
"It's natural that we welcome it when those countries who in the past have questions and ambiguities about this case ... now amend their views realistically," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told state radio."The condition of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities is becoming clear to the world."

When he smiles, you can see his fangs, but my gut tells me that Iran may have opted for buying its own nukes rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. I do not side with France and the UK in calling for continued and increased sanctions to pressure Iran. Now would be the time to back off a bit and see what happens next.

But Britain, whose position on Iran is closely aligned with Washington's, said it would continue to push for increased international pressure.
"We think the report's conclusions justify the actions already taken by the international community to both show the extent of and try to restrict Iran's nuclear program and to increase pressure on the regime to stop its (uranium) enrichment and reprocessing activities," a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.
"It confirms we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons (and) shows that the sanctions program and international pressure were having an effect in that they seem to have abandoned the weaponisation element."

It seems the international community would have us fight against something Iran MIGHT do. I do not agree.
World powers met last Saturday in Paris to discuss a further round of sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants or, potentially, nuclear weapons.
Two U.N. sanctions resolutions have been passed so far against Iran, unanimously but after diplomatic wrangling among the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany.
Close U.S. ally Israel was unimpressed by the report, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for the U.S.-backed campaign to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions to press ahead regardless.

To 'press ahead' might allow the others to sleep a little better but it ignores the forest for the trees. Further, it allows Iran to take actions in a more justified light, painting them as the victims of western oppression. I would not give them such political leverage. This all could lead to a future where Iran wants a bomb and we finally have to give them one, though not in the manner they seek.

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