Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Iran Update

Here's a roundup of some of the latest news and analysis of the Mullahcracy's (term coined by Roger L. Simon) quest to acquire nuclear weapons:

In last Thursday's Washington Post, Jim Hoagland noted the "Challenge from Iran":

Iran's ayatollahs have issued a stream of defiant messages stressing their determination to join "the nuclear club," no matter what price they may pay in international isolation. Their warnings push a camouflaged crisis into public view and demand a coordinated global response.

The same paper, in an editorial the next day, described the European approach of negotiating with the mullahs as one of "Failed Preemption":

This week, with the world's attention focused on the troubled situation in Iraq, the European version of preemption is yielding its own bitter -- if less bloody -- result. Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency have reported that Iran never honored its agreement; it has stalled and stonewalled the inspectors while continuing to work on elements of a nuclear program that could soon allow it to produce weapons. The Europeans have responded by drafting for approval by the 35-member IAEA board a stern statement demanding Iranian cooperation; Tehran has replied with threats to restart uranium enrichment and suspend negotiations with the West.

Also last Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) formally censured the Iranian regime for its pattern of deception and lack of full cooperation with IAEA inspections. As the AP described it:

The U.N. atomic watchdog agency censured Iran for past cover-ups in its nuclear program in a resolution adopted Friday, warning Tehran to be more forthcoming.

While escaping sanctions, Iran threatened that it still might retaliate by reconsidering plans to suspend its uranium enrichment.

On Monday, Iran's "Supreme Leader", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Agence France Presse, said "that it was "essential" for the Islamic republic to master the nuclear fuel cycle, but again denied the country was seeking to develop nuclear weapons." If you believe that, I have some prime Tehran real estate I'd like to sell you.

Finally, Winds of Change links to two detailed analyses of the mullahs nuclear program. The conclusions reached by both are extremely sobering.

In other developments

On Monday, Iran sent an unmistakable warning to Great Britain not to interfere with its nuclear designs by seizing three Royal Navy patrol boats in the Shatt al Arab waterway separating Iran from Iraq.

Inside Iran, an active summer appears to be in store as many of the Iranian people prepare to make their displeasure with living under the Mullahcracy known. Unfortunately, as Nir Boms and Reza Bulorchi have written, the mullahs are determined to keep control:

As the anniversary of the anti-government uprising of July 1999 approaches, widespread arrests of students and women are taking place. Some students are nabbed from their dormitories by plainclothes Revolutionary Guard agents, while many others are served arrest warrants. The US International Bureau of Broadcasting’s Radio Farda reported on May 29 that, “the persistent summoning and detention of students all over the country has caused fear and insecurity in universities.”

Tehran's Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has ordered a crackdown on "social corruption,” saying that, “a serious fight has started to tackle the spread of social corruption in society, especially the improper dress code.” Youth, particularly women, are the main targets of such campaigns.

These repressive actions are in line with a series of preventive measures taken by the Iranian regime to neutralize Iran’s democracy movement and to subdue an increasingly restive population.

As America attempts to prevent the mullahs from bringing their nuclear program to fruition and spreading their brand of radical Islamism, remember that the Iranian people are our best allies in this struggle. Be sure to visit Blog Iran to find out how you can help.


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