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The apparent ease, then, with which Amano sounded sanguine notes on Tuesday—after his first trip to Tehran since becoming IAEA chief in 2009—seems to further confirm the fatal flabbiness of will in the face of Tehran’s steadfast march toward its objective.
Indeed, as the talks got under way on Wednesday the mood in Israel—the country with the least room to indulge either outright fantasies or convenient fictions about the mullahs’ regime—ranged from skeptical to somber. As one official put it: “The Iranians are serial agreement violators. We know from past experiences how all these agreements between the IAEA and Iran end. Iran continued to establish uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz under the nose of the international community….”
A commentator was even more scathing, writing that: “The free world is pulling a fast one on us. And on itself. The agreement that the International Atomic Energy Agency reached with Iran is a pact among thieves. Thieves and liars. Everyone knows that this deal is not worth even the few words used to announce it.”
On Wednesday evening AP reported that in Baghdad the six world powers had offered Tehran a proposal focusing on its highest-level uranium enrichment at 20 percent, that “the proposal may meet a swift refusal from Iran,” and that “no breakthrough accords are expected,” so that
the negotiation process is likely to be long.
That could allow U.S. and European allies to significantly tone down threats of military action. But it would likely bring objections from Israel, which claims that Iran is only trying to buy time to keep its nuclear fuel labs in full operation.
In fact, Israel has already been objecting. Earlier on Wednesday Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated Israel’s demand for “a complete halt to Iranian uranium enrichment”—at all levels and in all venues, including the underground Fordow facility—and criticized Western “foot-dragging” in the talks.
But if the same pattern continues—Iran stringing the world powers along, the world powers all too willing to be conned, Israel issuing ultimatums and threats but not acting on them—the result will be a nuclear Iran.
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