Just recently, on April 30, the European Union began the latest round of nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna, home of Mohamed ElBaredei's IAEA. The pretext for the talks is a 130-nation gathering to discuss the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which addresses the conduct of nuclear states and the handling of the nuclear technology they master. But make no mistake, any and all nuclear talks begin and end with the Iranian nuclear crisis, and this gathering is no different. The talks are scheduled to last two weeks. Today, reports abound of an Iranian acceptance of a compromise during the talks, a compromise lacking in the Iranian nuclear posture since its clandestine nuclear program was publicly exposed in 2003. On the surface, this is a good development and welcomed news. But beyond the surface, nothing has changed.
For one, Iran continues to supply weapons to Sunni and Shi'a alike in Iraq to kill Americans. And met with virtual silence was General Petraeus' recent confirmation that Iran was behind the execution of US soldiers in January. But Iran's nuclear sideshow continues to dominate coverage of the world's foremost state sponsors of terrorism.
The headline reads "Iran accepts compromise over nuclear conference agenda, ending deadlock." With only 5 days left in the 14-day set of talks, the 'compromise' is simply over the agenda for what is to be discussed, which now includes language that essentially calls for the United States and other Western nations (and by implication, of course, Israel) to begin nuclear disarmament. And once again, in both topic and process, Iran dictates the pace and progress of events.
In the report, delegates said that Tehran objected to the original agenda's language because it "could lead to [Iran's] becoming a target at the meeting because of its refusal to meet UN Security Council demands to cease uranium enrichment and other parts of its nuclear program that could be misused to make nuclear weapons."
Well, in a word, yes. Iran should be a target of discussion at the meetings. After all, it is no small irony that even the very start of non-proliferation talks have been on hold for days due to objections from an Iranian state which openly admits to having employed AQ Khan's illicit nuclear proliferation network to significantly advance their own clandestine program.
While Iran decries becoming a 'target' in discussing the NPT, it enjoys effective control at the epicenter of controversy once again, having delayed discussions beyond their midpoint with disputes about the agenda of items that have yet to be even discussed.
And such has been the successfully employed Iranian tack since talks first began: Delay, object, demand and then reject calls for the cessation of enrichment activities. And after Iran has rattled sabers and cages with announcements of nuclear progress and thinly veiled threats, the regime appeals to international diplomats convinced of their ability to insert themselves and their accompanying language as the solution. For Iran without fail ultimately announces its willingness to hold talks and resolve the dispute 'diplomatically.' But talks must never be interpreted as negotiations, as today's 'compromise' calling for Western disarmament clearly reminds.
After all, nearly every Iranian leader, from President Ahmadinejad down to Foreign Minister Mottaki, can be attributed with multiple statements asserting that Iran's enrichment program is "non-negotiable." Surely at some point, Western diplomats and their various political leaderships must take such statements at face value and abandon their hope against hope that the regime's behavior can be coerced or negotiated into reason.
And all the while, as the international dance of words continues, Americans continue to die at the hands of Sunni and Shi'a alike in Iraq armed with Iranian weapons.
The US Army's 3rd Infantry Division Commanding General, Major General Rick Lynch, said that of the thirteen soldiers killed under his command since returning to Iraq April 1st, "more than half were killed by EFPs" supplied by Iran. Major General Lynch's 3rd ID operates in largely Sunni areas south of Baghdad. Lynch said at a press conference in Baghdad this week, "We're seeing Iranian EFPs in the hands of Sunni extremists. Iranian influence is evident both with Shiite extremists and with Sunni extremists."
During his visit to Washington, MNF-I Commander General David Petraeus confirmed that Iran was indeed behind the Karbala January 20, 2007 operation in which five US soldiers were killed, four of them executed after their capture. General Petraeus cited intelligence gathered from computer files and other items (which including the driver's licenses of the murdered Americans) found after recent arrests in the investigation. Again, the American soldiers were executed in an Iranian-hatched operation.
Days after the Iranian Karbala attack and executions, I wrote perhaps the most thorough open-source analysis of the intricate operation, which included blonde-haired, light-skinned terrorists who spoke perfect American English to Iraqi forces at a checkpoint during their well-planned approach. (Read the full analysis here originally published 29Jan07). I link my own work only because in this instance, it appears to remain the most thorough open-source analysis of what must clearly be considered and Iranian Act of War.) As the days and weeks go by, the initial conclusion of Iranian Quds Force hands behind the Karbala executions has only been affirmed by additional information.
And yet, the world and the media remain transfixed on Iran's nuclear program, seeming to hunger for the ability to write the right language and be able to claim to have dissuaded a regime that has consistently declared its nuclear program non-negotiable. This is the same revolutionary Islamic regime that was responsible for more American deaths in terror attacks until al-Qaeda's attacks on September 11.
In the mean time, Iran continues to kill Americans on the battlefields of Iraq, seemingly insulated by the new American 'evidence' standard of a signed memo from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini directing attacks.
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