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18 November 2007

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Babak Makkinejad

I told you guys before: "This ain't about hunting!"

Will

with instability in Lebanon, the slide of the dollar, and worry that the REAL EXISTING, DELIVERIBLE Nukes & Ballistic Missiles of Pakistan may fall into the hands of the Takfiri Salafists, it becomes increasingly harder to maintain

that America should be obssessing about the potentialites of Persico Nuclear weapons.

b

Good one, but one issue missing.

Iran's leader have several times publicly declared not to want nukes. There is supposed to be a Fatwa against nukes AND against any work on nukes by the Supreme leader.

I take these declarations seriously but will of course defer to Pat's knowledge if he thinks these are just a sham.

But if a Cardinal in Poland would declare nukes to be against catholic belief, I am quite sure that this would prevent Poland from ever trying to get such.

The same applies to Iran. Why should we NOT believe them?

Dubhaltach

A resource you might find useful is this fellow:

"Name: Andrew Foland
Location: MA

Until recently I was a physics professor at Harvard, where I taught the nuclear and particle physics course, among others. I've recently left that position to work as an R&D physicist in security applications. I have never done classified weapons work."

His blog is here:

Nuclear Mangos

He describes its purpose as follows:

"This blog is intended to provide reliable technical analysis of nuclear issues with non-state actors and nuclear beginner states. Some technical issues have important policy implications that citizens in a democracy should be able to make informed decisions about. The motivation for the blog has been the incredible amount of lies & hyperbole on the Iran situation of early 2006. The blog title is to remind you constantly of the quality of minds in charge of our nuclear security today."

condfusedponderer

I'm unsurprised. I have followed the little games the US played over the IAEA and the Iranians for a while. What this is is the US hawks fishing for a casus belli, or at least isolation of Iran for the end of regime change.

For illustrations, just listen to Miss Condi speaking at them. Not to mention John Bonkers Bolton's current writs and utterancances. He must be off his medication again.

A good source on this is Gordon Prather in his collumns, who does a good job explaining the intricacies of nuclear weapons, non-proliferation, the NPT, additional protocols and US politics about these issues.

He also offers a good explanation as for why the Iranians might want to have control over the fuel cycle. Their efforts to aquire any on the open market have thus far been thwarted. They signed contracts, paid money, and got nothing. The stuff they bought quietly they then reported to the IAEA in the mandated time frame. Which is in full compliance with the NPT.

What scary and sad is that as far as Iran's compliance with the NPT is concerned US diplomats and serving policymakers are flat out lying about Iran's compliance because the official policy is to maintain the fiction that Iran has a nuclear program, and is hiding something. Booh. Despite their utterances US policy makers and diplomats know perfectly well that it is a fiction, discounting the true believers. They mostly aren't dumb.

And for the hawks the demolition of that insufferable El Baradei and his IAEA and their annoying inspectors undermining patiently weaved fictions is an added bonus. And now these IAEA inspectors started to pop up in Syria as well! A bloody nuisance. Withous independent bodies like that the world would have to take US utterances at face value - which their allies form what I know are quite often willing to do in face of the US edge in information gathering and strategic reconnaissance.
All these legalistic limitations, inalienable rights and questions of compliance, yuck, worse than entangling alliances! Treaties, begone! You impede the righteous exercise of US power!

As a sidenote: From Hillary Mann's testimony I found interesting, and illuminating, the notion that the neo-cons were happy when Ahmedinejad was elected, because that would prevent some half-assed reform that would only make acceptable the moderates in Iran. The theocrats were evil, period. They had to go, period. Ahmedinejad's victory was regarded as *good news* because for them the regime had to change altogether. Internal reform wasn't enough. It had to be a total makeover a la Iraq. And that's still what the US policy toward Iran is. The only difference is that the more 'reality based' Bushies are willing to exercise less force towards that end than the pure breed neo-cons.

Jose

El Baradei is about to be Hans Blicked by the Neocons, Christian right and the media which needs another melodrama for ratings.

Facts? facts? we don't need no stinking facts.

Publius

Iran is a bogeyman, conjured up to find another enemy and to divert the U.S. polity from asking some very hard questions about the Bush Administration.

The Iran "crisis" is a made-up crisis, all part of the scare tactics employed by the Bush Adminstration since 9/11.

Iran poses no threat to the United States.

Sidney O. Smith III

Thanks for sharing this highly relevant information. Appears consistent with Gareth Porter’s screeds.

No evidence exists that proves an attack on Iran would promote US national security interests. All evidence appears to the contrary: among other things, an attack on Iran would place the USM in Iraq in much greater peril.

If this assumption is true, then at least two conclusions can be drawn. First, the USG, including those in the Pentagon, should take affirmative steps to ensure that neither Israel nor the US launches a pre-emptive strike against Iran.

Second, the Wurmser option increasingly appears suggestive of treason, either de facto or perhaps even de jure.

robt willmann

Now I don't feel so much like the lonely, homely, buck-toothed girl at the dance.

I believe I have quoted Article IV, paragraph 1 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty before, which the U.S. ratified, that states that Iran has the "inalienable right" to do do exactly what it is doing, "without discrimination".

In fact, here it is again:

"1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this treaty."

This means that the IAEA's "resolution" of 4 February 2006 (GOV/2006/14) that Iran had to "suspend" its activities was illegal and violated the NPT.

Why would the IAEA violate the treaty it is to uphold in its 4 February 2006 resolution?

The rumor was that the price for ElBaradei to be reappointed as Director General of the IAEA was for the illegal resolution to be passed and the "issue" to be sent to the UN Security Council.

And why would the UN Security Council adopt the blatantly illegal sanctions resolution 1747 on 14 March 2007, conditioned that Iran suspend "all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development ...", while hypocritically saying in the second paragraph of 1747 that it was "reaffirming" its commitment to the NPT and was "recalling" the "right of States Party ... to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination"?

The answer is that this is the same setup that was used before the attack on Yugoslavia/Serbia and on Iraq.

You make the other side an offer it has to refuse!

And of course, since the U.S. promised in the NPT that Iran can do what it is doing under Article IV of the NPT, and under Article IV the Security Council cannot tell Iran to "suspend" its nuclear activities or sanction it for failing to do so, Iran will refuse to abide by or submit to those so-called resolutions.

The setup is in place, but other countries, after having been fooled by this technique before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, put some limiting language in resolution 1747 so that it could not be "interpreted" as allowing an attack on Iran.

This was another mistake by the other members of the Security Council because the U.S., Britain, and now France are using the language of resolution 1747 for propaganda purposes, to try to smear Iran for "defying" the Security Council. This propaganda is being repeated by the U.S. media, which is not quoting the language I have above, in order to keep the public in the dark and to inhibit resistance to an attack on Iran.

Mr. Herring has added useful details to this issue.

The relevant documents are on the IAEA's Internet website--

http://www.iaea.org

If you take a few minutes to read them carefully, you can see the fraud being advanced about Iran's nuclear program and the IAEA, and how it is being used as a propaganda device.

Andy

I think some people here are confused about the NPT and how the IAEA monitors nation's nuclear program.

The monitoring regime authorized by the NPT and implemented by the IAEA and negotiated safeguards agreements is designed to operate like a chain-of-custody for criminal evidence. The IAEA begins monitoring a country's nuclear program from it's infancy. Through continuous monitoring as the program develops in sophistication, it can provide reasonable assurance that a nation is not diverting resources or material toward military use - just like criminal evidence can be reasonably assured to be free from tampering through continuous monitoring. The IAEA has confidence that a country has not engaged in nefarious activities because it has closely watch those activities continuously.

With Iran, the situation is much different. Iran, for whatever reason, legitimate or not, decided to begin a clandestine program. For almost two decades, there was no monitoring. When Iran's activities were finally revealed in 2003, and after a series of lies and denials when confronted with the evidence, only then did the IAEA begin monitoring.

Since that time the IAEA has worked to verify that Iran's newly-declared activities are in accordance with the NPT. So far they have been, and the remaining issues will likely be worked out in the coming months.

However, the remaining problem for the IAEA is determining the nature and scope of activities that occurred during the almost 2-decade long clandestine period. The IAEA was not able to monitor these activities from their infancy, so cannot determine with certainty that Iran has made a full and complete declaration, nor can it determine the scope of what went on over the last 20 years. This issue is not trivial (although Iran wishes it were so) and the IAEA recognizes it as a serious problem that must be addressed. It's why the IAEA categorically states that Iran must ratify and implement the additional protocol. The IAEA, not the so-called "Bush cabal" says this step is necessary, along with other transparency measures, to make up for years of Iranian deception.

So what we see today is Iran focusing heavily on its currently compliance while ignoring past noncompliance and the gaps in monitoring and knowledge thus created. It's why the IAEA has tried (unsuccessfully) to interview AQ Khan and other members of his network. The IAEA is trying to figure out exactly what happened with Iran's program during that 20-year gap to ensure that no military activity took place or that a clandestine military program was not spun-off.

So while Mr. Herring is correct about the current state of Iran's declared activities and IAEA monitoring, he's completely missed THE major issue of paramount importance to the IAEA. This is the difference between the example he provides - Egypt - or any number of countries with nuclear programs.

Confusedponderer goes on to say:

He also offers a good explanation as for why the Iranians might want to have control over the fuel cycle. Their efforts to aquire any on the open market have thus far been thwarted. They signed contracts, paid money, and got nothing. The stuff they bought quietly they then reported to the IAEA in the mandated time frame.

I hear the "access to fuel" argument quite frequently, but it's not really valid. First of all, Iran has a longstanding agreement with Argentina that recored and fueled it's Tehran University research reactor. The reactor uses 20% enriched uranium and an agreement which the US did not oppose. Additionally, in recent years, Iran has been offered guaranteed access to fuel many times, which it has refused.

Secondly, the "contracts" referred to above were actually penned under the Shah and unilaterally canceled by Iran after the revolution during an anti-western purge. Europeans were reluctant to provide Iran assistance after these incidents and Iran's assassination of dissidents in Europe, exporting its revolution, and even murder European nationals did not engender much desire to help Iran with a nuclear program or anything else. Then there was the war with Iraq - no one had much desire to engage in commercial contracts of any sort in a war zone. Even so, a German firm contracted to finish Bushehr but frequent Iraqi attacks made it impossible.

In the latest IAEA report, it states that Iran admits deciding to pursue the covert route in the "mid 1980's" - right in the middle of the war. This decision was made long before Iran had any need for fuel and there is no evidence that Iran attempted to contract for fuel supplies between 1979 and 1986. Yet Iran decides to go ahead and create a covert enrichment program.

Finally, the "stuff they bought" was not reported to the IAEA in the mandated timeframe - as the IAEA itself states. What Iran did here is abrogate an agreement it made in favor of an older standard - a unilateral abrogation that is not authorized under Iran's safeguard's agreement.

Now, before I get accused of being a member of the "Bush cabal" I should point out that almost everything I've said here has been said before by el Baradai and the IAEA. Furthermore, I do not support an attack on Iran for a variety of reasons. Still, the fact remains that Iran's program is still a significant cause for concern and Iran could best guarantee the rights it claims by implementing all the measures the IAEA says are required for it to perform it's mandated duties.

condfusedponderer

Andy,
say, I know a semantics game when I see it. There is a huge difference between full compliance and what the US administration perceives as that. What about the secret programs you didn't tell us about? Prove to us to our paranoid standards that you don't have anything else! One can play that game infinitely, or until the point where you can say: "Our patience has expired, we have no choice, Iran brought that on themselves, now we the sword has to decide the matter!"

I found it remarkable when one administration figure said, can't remember who exactly, that Iran's regime having knowledge of how to enrich uranium is too much.

I think that US assurances to act in good faith on the nuclear issue ought to be take at least with a grain of salt. To keep in mind the goal of regime change helps as a corrective prism.

Considering that Iran is under US sanctions for a quarter of a century, it is plausible to interpret their secrecy in procuring nuclear technology as a function of necessity, rather than as proof of nefarious intent.

Clifford Kiracofe

Iran? Well, the Brits are practical about commercial expansion, why aren't we?

"THE government faces a diplomatic row with America over disclosures that it has provided the Iranian regime with financial support worth about £290m while at the same time calling for sanctions.

The money was offered by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) to support British firms exporting to Iran, mainly to the country’s petrochemical industry.

Many of the loans were being negotiated while British ministers were threatening sanctions against Iran for creating a nuclear enrichment facility to make atomic weapons...."
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2890957.ece

If roughly 20,000 American jobs are created by US$1billion of US exports then commercial relations with Iran and Syria, for example, in the hydrocarbon sector should be a practical objective.

But the Bush Administration follows the "dual containment" policy of the Clinton Administration promoted by the Z-Lobby. And Mr. Levey of our Treasury Department, the sanctions zealot, merrily wends his way around the planet denying Americans an export market and jobs.....

At some point, perhaps, John Q Public might connect some dots between the Z-Lobby/Israel, US foreign policy, and their deteriorating economic condition, not to mention the tumbling dollar.

Andy

Well Confusedpondered, Iran itself feeds into that administration line with its refusal to fully cooperate with the IAEA on its clandestine history. Perhaps if Iran was fully transparent, ratified and implemented the additional protocol as the IAEA has long demanded, the administration would not be able to argue as you suggest. Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment (as the UNSC called for with chapter 7 resolutions) while the IAEA does its work to fully investigate and understand the scope of Iranian activity is not simply a neocon-based issue. Again, this is something the IAEA itself says is required.

Furthermore, Iran clearly intends to make the UNSC resolutions and the IAEA's demands moot. Consider what Iran's chief nuclear negotiator said back in 2004:

As for the question of what we can do now that they all disagree with our having the fuel cycle, I submit to you that we require an opportunity, time to be able to act on our capability in this area. That is, if one day we are able to complete the fuel cycle and the world sees that it has no choice, that we do possess the technology, then the situation will be different. The world did not want Pakistan to have an atomic bomb or Brazil to have the fuel cycle, but Pakistan built its bomb and Brazil has its fuel cycle, and the world started to work with them. Our problem is that we have not achieved either one, but we are standing at the threshold.

The stupidest mistake the Bush administration did was negotiate the nuclear deal with India. That deal plays right into Iran's perceptions. For example, Matthew Bunn from Harvard's Belfer Center said:

I should add that some of my Iranian colleagues—I’ve been making an effort to try to understand what is going on in Tehran, although with limited success—have told me that in Tehran the nuclear hardliners are pointing to India and saying basically, look what happened to them, they tested, everybody in the whole world sanctioned them, and then six months later Clinton was crawling back and saying, please be our friend, et cetera. Now, they’re getting this nuclear deal. The hardliners are using that as an argument that while there may be sanctions now, if we just move forward, eventually the world will roll over and acquiesce to what we’re doing. That’s a plausible argument. That’s not obvious to me that they’re wrong given the huge pool of oil and gas that Iran is sitting on.

WRT enrichment, one might argue that as a dual-use technology whether it is legal or not under the NPT comes down to intent. Just because Iran says it's peaceful does not make it so. India, for example, claimed "smiling Buddha" was not a weapon but a "peaceful" nuclear explosive. In my view Iran's statements on its need for an enrichment cycle are not well supported. First, given that the Iranian government spends almost 25% of it's annual revenue on gasoline subsidies and imports, Iran's claims that it needs a wholly domestic nuclear fuel supply seem quite strange. The crisis in Iranian energy is gasoline production, not electricity. Secondly, Iran only has uranium reserves to last it a decade or two at which point it will be forced to import in any event. Then there are the economics. And then there is the issue I brought up before about Iran going covert in the midst of the war with Iraq at a time when when it publicly stated it needed nuclear weapons...

You see, although I don't support an attack on Iran, I also believe there is sufficient concern about Iranian intent that compelling them to comply with the IAEA is important. If Iran does comply, then there is no legal argument left for the US to prevent it from having a fuel cycle and enrichment - to say nothing of guaranteed third-party fuel deliveries.

b

@confusedponder: "I found it remarkable when one administration figure said, can't remember who exactly, that Iran's regime having knowledge of how to enrich uranium is too much."

That was some obscure administration figure with the name Bush?

Although in the past he has said it is "unacceptable" for Iran to possess a nuclear bomb, Bush said Wednesday that it is unacceptable for it to even know how to build a bomb.

hass

Actually Andy, you're wrong on several counts. First of all the IAEA has already certified that IRan's previously undisclosed activities had no relationship to a weapons program. And the latest IAEA report is entirely about the last remaining issues from the past that had to be cleared up - not about Iran's current activities, which are already entirely monitored.

The IAEA has said that it cannot verify the absence of undeclared activities - for IRan as well as for 40 or so other countries - simply because they haven't formally ratified the Additional Protocol, not because there's any actual evidence of any undeclared activities. And, Iran has repeatedly offered to ratify the Additional Protocol - as long as its NPT rights are also recognized.

hass

Incidentally, Iran's economic case for having nuclear power is well-established, and its strategic reasons to want to be able to use its own energy sources rather than rely on the Russians to power their economy is quite logical.

Andy

Hass,

While you're right that the IAEA cannot verify the absence of undeclared activities for "40 or so" other countries who have not implemented the AP, you neglect to mention that those other countries, unlike Iran, did not engage in covert activities that resulted in flagrant violations of their comprehensive safeguards agreements. Your position in this and other fora is that Iran's history of concealment and obstructionism is immaterial and should basically be ignored - that Iran is equivalent to countries in good standing WRT their NPT obligations who have not violated their agreements. Well, the IAEA, its governing council and the UNSC disagree.

Furthermore, I'm not disputing Iran's case for nuclear power but as I remind you yet again, the issue is not nuclear power, but enrichment and Iran's concealment, violations and obstructionism. And as I noted above, the reasoning behind obtaining "its own energy sources" is specious when one considers domestic uranium reserves (or lack thereof) and Iran's gasoline dependency. It's quite strange for a country to argue on one hand that it not only needs nuclear power, but also a wholly domestic fuel cycle while at the same time almost a quarter of it's budget is spent importing and subsidizing gasoline. Perhaps you can explain why Iran is so worried about nuclear fuel supplies for its nascent nuclear power program when it's busy importing 60% of it's gasoline from those same "unreliable" foreign suppliers?

Serving Patriot

@Andy,

You note: "While you're right that the IAEA cannot verify the absence of undeclared activities for "40 or so" other countries who have not implemented the AP, you neglect to mention that those other countries, unlike Iran, did not engage in covert activities that resulted in flagrant violations of their comprehensive safeguards agreements."

However, who says those countries have not engaged in covert programs? Indeed, by their nature, "covert" programs are not known to outsiders? Maybe they too should be on our hit list for the (already) overstretched military arm of foreign policy? Isn't the (neo-con) saying "absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence?" Perhaps on those grounds, we should pursue a dedicated program of coercion against those countries as well?
[/end snark and sarcasm]
SP

eaken

Andy: Additional Protocol?

"There's an old saying in Tennessee, I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee--that says,
'Fool me once . . . shame on . . . shame on you . . . . . . If ya fool me, I can't get fooled again!'"

hass

Actually some of those other countries have engaged in undeclared nuclear activities - including Egypt, S. Korea and Taiwan.

hass

Andy - gasoline and nuclear power are unrelated. There are no nuclear powered cars in Iran. The manufacture of uranium fuel for reactors makes perfect sense from a strategic point of view. After all, Dick Cheney himself accused the Russians of engaging in energy blackmail. WOuld the US allow its nuclear program to be totally reliant on foreign imports of fuel? Why should IRan? Iran can point to a string of contracts that were not fulfilled, including from EURODIF, where iran invested millions of dollars and hasn't received an ounce of nuclear fuel.

Andy

Oh, Hass, now you're being dishonest. You know as well as I do that Iran unilaterally canceled the EURODIF contract, ended payments and then demanded the return of ALL of it's loaned capital plus interest despite the fact the facility was almost finished. It was Iran that rejected Eurodif, not the other way around. Then Iran had the temerity to use French citizens taken hostage in Lebanon as bargaining chips in the subsequent contractual dispute.

Also, I brought up gasoline because you originally pointed to energy independence even using the term "its own energy sources." Now you say that only nuclear energy independence matters, and to justify it your point to the Russian "blackmail" of energy supply which was, ironically, fossil,not nuclear. IOW Hass, you seem happy to use energy independence arguments when they support your argument and reject them when they don't.

And finally, Hass, the ROK gave up it's ambitions, provided full transparency to the IAEA and ratified and implemented the additional protocol. Taiwan is not a recognized state by the UN or IAEA, but it adheres to the AP as well. The previous problems with these countries have been solved to the IAEA's satisfaction which is more than can be said for Iran. The IAEA could have closed the case on Iran long ago were it not for Iranian obstructionism.

And again, despite all I've said in this thread, I do not support military action against Iran.

condfusedponderer

hass,
you are obviously confused unlike me, he-he. Let me right your world. You seriously suggest the US would deny a country they sanction essential commodities their national welfare or their economy depend on, and then claim them wanting to have them are unreasonable anyway? I'm shocked! Next, you're probably going to tell me that the US want to hurt countries they sanction.

It goes without saying that US sanctions are an educational exercise - tough love for the oppressed people under those tyrannical regimes not to mention that they could easily end those sanctions if they had the balls to dispose of those wicked tyrants of theirs.

It's as if doubting that the Iraqis during the sanctions regime which is ancient history could have wanted chlorine for any other reason than manufacturing obsolete and ineffective chemical weapons, and of course to satisfy inexplicable pathological urges to hoard chemical weapons just because. Of course the Iraqis, no Saddam, personally, have, has, been lying when they, he claimed to need them for water purification. Preposterous! Especially in a country with a climate like Iraq.

500.000 Iraqis is worth it. No, of course not. Tyrants citing national welfare and economic demands only do so to cynically hide behind their population, take them hostage, and they would serve their people which of course is not really their people because they are wicked tyrants best by going away asap and allowing for regime change. Their refusal to do so and to meet reasonable US demands, like to please, commit suicide only underlines their infinite wickedness! What reasonable means depends on what the definition of reasonable is.

It is then that Condi can tell the press with that annoying voice of hers: We have been offering Iran their unconditional surrender talks for a long time, but they just won't listen. I don't see them playing a constructive role.

[/end snark and sarcasm]

b

@Andy - gasoline - Iran is expanding its refinary capacity and will soon be an exporter of gasoline.

/quote/Iran plans to increase its crude oil distillation capacity by a total of 974,000 barrels per day over the next five years, by expanding existing refineries and building new ones, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday./endquote/
http://news.monstersandcritics.com/energywatch/oilandgas/news/article_1192685.php/Iran_to_boost_refining_capacity_by_974000_bpd_in_five_years

India (Essar) has a new 300,000 bpd refinary project in Iran.
http://www.ameinfo.com/135839.html

There are major upgrades in the work in all other refineries (financed by Japan).
---
On Eurodif - don't know your sources but here is what the Arms Control Association published.
/quote/Iran remained an indirect shareholder through Sofidif, a French-Iranian consortium that has a 25 percent interest in Eurodif.

Ironically, the settlement came just as Iran had changed its position vis-à-vis Eurodif and demanded delivery of enriched uranium based on the old contract. Paris maintained that the contract had expired in 1990. By that time, Iran was already subject to Western sanctions. France refused to deliver the fuel even though Tehran still held an indirect share in Eurodif. Iran views this refusal as proof of the unreliability of outside nuclear supplies and uses the Eurodif episode to argue its case for achieving energy independence by supplying all of the elements of the nuclear fuel cycle itself./endquote/
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2006_01-02/JANFEB-iranenrich.asp

So Iran still owns part of the company but can not buy its products ...

Andy

B,

Yes, Iran has announced plans and made deals this year - not surprising since the gasoline crisis caused riots around the nation. Iran also does claim it will soon be an exporter of gasoline, but "soon" is a relative term, particularly when Iran's shortfall is somewhere around 7 million gallons a day currently with demand rising by double-digits every year...

With respect to Eurodif, keep in mind that Iran began working with AQ Khan in the mid-1980's - well before Iran's supposed last-minute demand to reinstate the contract it previously abrogated. So Iran had already make a decision to pursue a covert route before the settlement was even finalized and western "unreliability" had yet been determined. In any event, I find it rather strange the Eurodif episode is offered as proof of Western intransigence considering it was Iran that canceled the contract originally, Iran that demanded all its money back, Iran that used hostages for negotiations and then, once negotiations neared finalization, it was Iran that turned around yet again and demanded fulfillment of the contract, presumably in addition to the refund on investment it received.

Let's say I signed a contract with you to build me a house, and provide earnest money. Once the house is almost complete, I decided to cancel the contract and demand my money back plus interest. We then spend a decade in court during which time I take members of your family hostage. In the end, as the final negotiations are taking place, I demand that I get the house after all. In this instance who would you deem "unreliable?"

Finally, it's not clear that Iran actually made the demand - Iranian newspapers, for example, denied it - though rumors persisted for many months that France and Iran had a secret side agreement to provide enriched uranium - rumors that later proved false.

And all this is besides the point because Iran has been offered guaranteed access to uranium fuel and has refused.

Anyway, this is the last comment from me on the topic. It seems to me too many are buying into Iranian rhetoric and supporting their viewpoint in order to spite GWB. I would argue that one can recognize that GWB is a failure as a President and actively oppose armed action against Iran without giving Iran a pass.

Thanks for a good debate.

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