Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Follow-up on Iran and the NIE

I've been meaning to post this for a week.

I think it's important to make the point that simply because Iran has mothballed it's nuclear weapons program does NOT mean their continued enriching of uranium is not a cause for concern.

There is a difference between a weapons program that has been mothballed and one that has been verifiable abandoned and deconstructed.

As McClatchy reported last month, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar, has said that Iran would suspend it's uranium enrichment if the US and EU would acknowledge that it's nuclear program was peaceful. However, the ambassador was quick to point out that he doesn't trust the United States because he believed nothing Iran could do would satisfy the US. Remember that Saddam offered to allow the IAEA to verify that he didn't have a nuclear weapons program and Bush would have none of it because he knew they had the program and the only solution was an invasion. Thus is the very serious impact of insisting on 'regime change' in sovereign nations.

While Bush continues to insist that Iran must stop processing uranium or face military attacks, he has not taken the ambassador up on his offer even though he knew at the time the offer was made that Iran's program was peaceful. Ambassador Asghar was correct -- nothing short of war will satisfy this administration.

The public disclosure of the NIE on Iran has saved us from a third middle-east war, but Iran's program is still a problem. I have no problem with Iran having nuclear power, but it's long past time for the US to get on board with the EU and the IAEA and negotiate the deconstruction of the weapons program while allowing Iran nuclear power that is openly and verifiable peaceful.

Iran has every reason not to trust Bush, but the next administration must make this a priority.

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