Iran Rope-A-Dopes the West Again

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced on Tuesday that Iran would agree “quite soon” to allow IAEA inspectors to search for any evidence that Iran’s nuclear enrichment program has been directed towards military applications. The IAEA has been particularly interested in the Parchin military complex, where it is suspected the Iranians have been testing triggering mechanisms for nuclear bombs. This announcement came a day before the start of talks in Baghdad between the Iranians and the “P5 + 1” powers (the permanent Security Council nations and Germany). These talks are aimed at reaching an “agreement on the framework of the beginning of a compromise”–– as the New York Times describes with a straight face this laughably minimalist goal–– which would limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium. The deal also arrives six weeks before European sanctions on Iranian oil imports kicks in on July 1.

The timing of this paltry “agreement” announced by the IAEA suggests that the Iranians are once again rope-a-doping the U.N. and the West, playing for time by exploiting both Obama’s fear of an Israeli attack before the elections, and the Europeans’ usual preference for using diplomatic words to avoid military deeds. Thus this latest “breakthrough” is nothing more than another Iranian tactic in its long-term strategy for acquiring nuclear weapons. As Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak responded to the announcement, “The Iranians appear to be trying to reach a technical deal that will create an appearance as if there is progress in the talks to remove some of the pressure ahead of the talks in Baghdad and to postpone an escalation in sanctions.” Indeed, using the talks to ease sanctions is clearly what the Iranians are up to. Parliament Chairman Ali Larijani ordered the West to “stop the shell game they have played on Iran,” since it would be “improper” for the P5+1 powers to negotiate while imposing tighter sanctions. The implication is that relaxing sanctions is a precondition for any agreement.

But even if the Iranians sign the deal with the IAEA, and even if some more definitive agreement is reached in Baghdad, the problem of a nuclear Iran will not be solved, but merely delayed. The history of North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons suggests the playbook Iran is following. In 1994, North Korea signed an agreement that called for the North to shut down its plutonium-based Yongbyon nuclear reactor in exchange for help in building two nuclear reactors for producing electricity. Eight years later, the Koreans admitted to a U.S. delegation that all along it had been enriching uranium. The next year, the North withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and began the “six-nation” negotiations over its nuclear program. That gabfest masked the ongoing development of nuclear weapons, which Korea announced it possessed a year later. Subsequent years saw more promises of cooperation and action by the Koreans when food-aid or other economic help was needed, followed by further provocations and threats, followed in turn by more Western concessions, starting the cycle all over again. Meanwhile the North has continued testing and developing missiles, threatening its neighbors, and providing rogue regimes like Iran and Syria with nuclear technology and know-how.

Given the success of the North Koreans, the Iranians are following the same strategy for becoming a nuclear power, combining diplomatic engagement, threatening bluster, meaningless “agreements,” and duplicitous evasion in order to keep the West off balance. Thus it’s no coincidence that on the same day talks begin in Baghdad the Iranians are launching a satellite on a missile that could be adapted for delivering a nuclear warhead. Meanwhile as the diplomatic dance proceeds, the centrifuges are spinning and nuclear facilities are being buried deep underground, activities that will continue until it’s too late or too costly for the West to do anything about Iran’s nukes.

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  • rev d j handyside

    I don't blame the iranians one bit. It's self-preservation. and on thier terms… and why the heck not… everyone else does it. especially the yanks and the jews.

    • Choi

      YOU'RE a POSTER BOY for the Anti-Semitism of "The Religious LEFT".
      Go back or STAY in your South African Hellhole.
      You must be the South African Rev. Wright!
      Aren't you going to be shocked when YOU GO TO H#LL instead of Heaven.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      bishop tutu got a boo boo on his tutu.

  • StephenD

    Tyrannical and zealot beliefs in your destiny being tied to wreaking havoc on earth in order to usher in the 12th (hidden) Imam cannot be easily dissuaded. The only motivating factor for such people is brute force. The leadership in Iran understand only power; the power of their belief system, of their weapons system, of their determination and superiority of all others. In order to perhaps limit the number of casualties from such fool-hardy people it may be necessary to resort to force.
    There is no evil in crushing that which would destroy innocent people. It would be evil to NOT take action.

    • Choi

      Amen

    • http://N/A Jim

      Absolutely right! Solution to this problem: A three prong strike from Isreal, the United States and Great Britain to completely destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and render their military useless. Once that objective is obtained, do nothing. Let the Persian people take back their country from the religious nuts running the show and bring their country back into the 21st century.

  • Choi

    "Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced on Tuesday that Iran would agree “quite soon” to allow IAEA inspectors to search for any evidence that Iran’s nuclear enrichment program has been directed towards military applications."

    "Quite Soon"?
    AFTER THEY HIDE THEIR BOMB-MAKING PROGRAM EVIDENCE!

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Or! right after they roll out a few nuclear tipped weapons aimed at Israel…………….William

  • tagalog

    Perhaps the United States should announce that "quite soon" we will begin sending squadrons of bombers over Tehran to carpet-bomb the city, beginning with the houses of government, moving on to the war-making factories of the country, then to the oil fields, then to the businesses, then to the refineries, then to the citizenry as we wait for Iran to decide just when they are going to allow inspectors in the country to check for nuclear war-making research and development.

    We might also consider making the same announcement every time somebody takes an American citizen hostage. We would probably enhance our ability to get those people free if we'd stop dicking around with these people. The only thing they understand is overwhelming force.

  • Daniel MacDonald

    Hatred must be stopped where ever and when ever it raises its evil head. I often wonder why we insist on never being the first to use a nuclear bomb. With the current atmosphere being what it is, would dropping a small nuke out in the Iranian desert followed by an ultimatum that they openly cease all nuclear activity or we will use nukes to destroy their nuclear installations throughout the country beginning in ten days. Somehow i think it just might be the solution

  • Ghostwriter

    I've got the feeling Israel isn't going to wait forever for sanctions to work. They're going to bomb the nuclear facilities whether anyone likes or not. Iran is on record for saying that they want to wipe Israel of the map. The Israelis aren't going to wait until they can do so.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Iranian leadership, so devilishly clever, smart by half and on their way to self destruction. After
    millions of Iranians murdered, tortured and disenfranchised by the Mullahs, the Shah can not
    be to bad and idea to resurrect. I volunteer………………………..William

  • KKKK

    good article. the tehran tyrnats wnat nothing beyond a delay in the escalation of sanctions and encourage the US to cause Israel to not strike Iran. if we dont do something soon, Iran will soon become too powerful and will attack US ("Death to America!" is the #1 rant).

  • http://www.maghrebchristians.com Youssef

    What we have witnessed throughout this past year and last was a change of power, history and you can say identity, within the Arab world today. With Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, some parts of Algeria and Morocco and other Arab countries people have stood up for justice, democracy and freedom, freedom for all people in their “faith,” but has the Arab spring really brought freedom to all people or has it just come to the minority that desires religious freedom mainly other than the economy getting fixed and bringing forth a leader who will bring freedom and democracy.

    Read more: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/05/29/the-a

    Youssef