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Iran's Nuclear Enablers By: Reza Bayegan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, October 31, 2003

As the bearded fanatics of Tehran defied the international community and America pondered its options to inter their nuclear "energy" program, the dovish foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom swooped into Iran and concluded a "peaceful end to Iran's nuclear ambitions." What seems to have been forgotten amidst all the Europeans' self-congratulation for "defusing" a major international crisis is that the Euro-Islamist pact is a meaningless agreement struck with an illegitimate government.

Ironically, the upshot of the meeting of the three European foreign ministers with the officials of the Islamic Republic in Tehran will actually make it easier for the mullahs to acquire atomic weapons. The signed agreement can be likened to a sigheh (a Shia term for "temporary marriage") that provides the protection of the law for prostitution and adultery. The three foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom went to Tehran and signed an agreement that in effect will protect the Islamist regime's pursuit of WMDs. Guarantees pledged by the Islamic Republic to suspend the operations of its uranium enrichment plant, and submit to the IAEA's intrusive inspection regime, were never worth the paper they were written on. On October 22, only hours after confirming that his government would voluntarily suspend its enrichment program, Mohammad Khatami said that Iran would never give up its right to enrich uranium -- for "future nuclear power plants," of course.

Mohsen Mirdamad, head of the Parliament's National Security Committee, let the cat out of the bag. Mirdamad put the inherent impotence of the IAEA's surveillance into perspective, saying, "Accepting the protocols does not mean that we are obliged to execute it tomorrow. This is a complicated task and for some countries it has taken up to three years." It has been estimated that the Islamic Republic will be able to construct its nuclear bomb in less than two years, one full year ahead of the completion of the IAEA survey. By that time the inspection team  will have nothing more to "survey"; atomic bombs in the hands of Iran will be a fait accompli.

We ask ourselves what then has been achieved after all this fanfare in the Iranian capital and joint communiqués of foreign ministers? Unfortunately, precious little has been accomplished to make the world a safer place. Furthermore, the opposing interests of Western powers have produced a powerful tonic that will likely prolong the life of Tehran's brutal tyranny and may endanger the Middle East or the entire world.

To understand why the Europeans, and especially France (which is more jubilant and optimistic about the deal than the others), took such a step at this moment and facilitated the membership of the Islamic Republic into the nuclear club, we do well to search for a link between this issue and  the greatest source of trouble in the region: the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The mission to the Iranian capital  was to bring the desperado state under the protective umbrella of the IAEA and forestall any preemptive strike by Israel or the United States against nuclear facilities spread throughout the Iranian territory.

At the heart of  rushing to the Ayatollah's rescue lies a European policy towards the Middle East that sharply differs from that of the United States. It is axiomatic of American foreign policy to box in the power and influence of terrorist-supporting regimes and to help secure a democratic Israel. Making sure that the Islamic Republic will never be able to acquire nuclear capability is absolutely essential to the security of both Israel and the United States -- and indeed, the entire West. The Europeans, however, do not seem to have the same anxieties.

For the French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, the bottom line is economics. The lucrative trade ties with countries that consider Israel their number one enemy will dictate the course of France's foreign policy in Iran as they did in Iraq for twenty years. Criticizing U.S. and Israeli security strategies in an interview with The Guardian on October 18, de Villepin points out Europe's close financial links with both sides of the Middle Eastern conflict, but particularly with the Arab world. A translation of this diplomatic language amounts to a declaration of support for the foes of America, Israel and Western progress. The "violent" American approach, he asserts, will create more hostility in the region. The "peaceful" French solution on the other hand will conciliate and pacify:

"We think that using force...is going to...give new reasons to some people [like al-Qaeda] to oppose us."

The above statement is more than a call for finding non-violent solutions; it is a sympathetic nod to political blackmail. This seemingly benevolent language intimates that previous al-Qaeda attacks were a reaction to, and a logical consequence of, misdeeds perpetrated by the Western world. According to de Villepin, the Western powers (read: the United States) must change its act to avoid supplying fresh reasons for terrorist groups to engage in "martyrdom."

The absurdity of the attitude expressed by the French Foreign Minister becomes clear when we realize that the only way for the Israelis to stop supplying fresh reasons to the terrorists is by dislodging their country into the sea. And Iran would not rest with Israel.

In fact, Iran is not content merely to persecute foreigners. While in the Iranian capital, Dominique de Villepin could have benefited from visiting political detainees in the notorious Evin and Towhid prisons. These men and women kept under despicable conditions for exercising their basic rights of free expression could have informed him that surrendering to tyranny and terrorism is a betrayal of all humanity.  To pay such a ransom, to give up our freedom and betray our democratic dreams in pursuit of a sham arms control agreement, is as treacherous as it is craven.

Iranians with huge oil and gas reserves need no nuclear power program. What they urgently require is the restoration of their fundamental human rights. The three European foreign ministers trip to Tehran and the subsequent agreement reached with the government of the Islamic Republic only emboldened a major sponsor of global terrorism. And thanks to their efforts, the mullahs may one day help terrorists train the ultimate weapon upon Tel Aviv and Washington, D.C. -- followed by Paris, Berlin and London.

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