(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/05/miriam20111130173833170.gif)Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano met with Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in an initial conference over Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian Fars News Agency said the meeting represented the ”eagerness” of the UN to “further develop cooperation with Iran in various areas of nuclear applications,” and it is clear the rosiness of the state media’s characterization is not without good reason. For, while the West is banking everything on an appeasement strategy with Iran, the Islamic Republic is busy broadcasting to the world its Hitlerian intentions to annihilate Israel, daring the international community to bat an eyelash.
Renewed talks with Iran come on the heels of a speech delivered Sunday by Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Iran’s military chief of staff, in which he called for the “full annihilation of Israel.” Like every other Iranian pronouncement revealing the murderous nature of the current regime, it will likely be brushed aside when negotiations between Iran and P5+1, (the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany), begin in Baghdad tomorrow.
Amano’s rare trip to Iran marks the fourth meeting between the IAEA and Tehran. Two rounds of talks took place in Tehran in January and February this year, followed by a third round in Vienna on May 14-15. Yet despite reports of a more “upbeat atmosphere” both last week and yesterday, a large degree of genuine substance apparently remains beyond reach. “We have extensive activities in fighting cancer, food safety and security, supplying water needs and other applications of the nuclear technology,” Amano said. In other words, there was no indication of progress regarding the principal disagreement between the IAEA and Iran, namely a deal allowing the IAEA to inspect Iranian nuclear sites, most specifically the Parchin research facility, where IAEA inspectors were refused entry as recently as February.
Saeed Jalili, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator who attended the meeting Monday and who will be in Baghdad tomorrow, inadvertently confirmed the banality of the talks between the two sides, noting that his country was “a serious supporter of…global disarmament, confronting the spread of nuclear weapons and the usage of peaceful nuclear technology for (non-proliferation treaty) member states.” “Today we have good negotiations with Amano on these three fields and we hope to have good cooperation with the agency in the future in these areas,” Jalili said.
Furthermore, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) may have revealed Iran’s true intent in negotiating with the IAEA prior to the Baghdad meeting. “The IAEA’s opposition to the U.S. false claim over Iraq helped the agency steer clear of Washington so that the U.N. agency’s officials could not be considered as accomplice to the crimes committed by the U.S. statesmen in Iraq,” it reported. “Iran considers IAEA’s independence and promotion as a factor which would prevent violation of the member states’ rights,” it added.
This is a useful gambit in that it seeks to draw a dividing line between the IAEA and the United States. For optimists, it presents the possibility that Iran might be willing to make substantial concessions as long as it can make them directly to the U.N. instead of the U.S., thereby saving a certain amount of face should that reality come to pass. For realists, it is little more than an attempt to introduce another stumbling block between the international body and the P5+1, one either designed to gain Iran leverage in Baghdad–or give the Islamic nation still more time to develop nuclear weapons.
Adding to the intrigue is the idea expressed by many diplomats that Amano would not have traveled to Iran – his first trip to that nation since becoming the IAEA chief in 2009 – unless a deal between his agency and Tehran was close. Yet when Amano was asked if some sort of framework had been found that would answer questions about Iranian intentions, he declined to get specific. “I will not go into details but the agency has some viewpoints and Iran has its own specific viewpoints,” he said.
One of those “specific Iranian viewpoints” was revealed Sunday by Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Iran’s military chief of staff. “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel,” he said in a speech to a defense gathering in Tehran. Firouzabadi further insisted that the world should recognize the dangers imposed by the Zionist regime of Israel, and reiterated the idea that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei considers defending Palestine a religious imperative.
Earlier this year, Khamenei himself promised to “support and help any nations, any groups fighting against the Zionist regime across the world” even as he flaunted his nation’s reputation for belligerence and anti-Semitism. “The Zionist regime is a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off,” he said, addressing millions of Friday Prayers worshippers on Tehran University Campus in February. “And it definitely will be cut off.”
Iranian apologists have long insisted that remarks such as the ones made by Khamenei and/or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been misquoted, misunderstood, or mis-translated and that the Iranians have never actually called for Israel’s destruction. American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris puts the lie to that notion. “Iran’s military chief of staff has left no doubt what is the regime’s goal, and why, if further proof is needed, its nuclear program must be stopped…General Firouzabadi’s comments are a timely and sobering reminder of the stakes involved,” said Harris. “They should also put to rest, once and for all, the fanciful views of those remaining political leaders, diplomats, and journalists who contend that Iran is a ‘peaceful’ nation which has simply been ‘misunderstood’ by the global community.”
No doubt they should, but the capacity for diplomatic self-delusion has a long and tattered track record, ranging from British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 declaration that he had achieved “peace in our time” prior to the Nazi’s march through Europe and their extermination of six million Jews, up through the Agreed Framework of 1994, in which former president Bill Clinton and his North Korea negotiator, Jimmy Carter, convinced themselves the Hermit Kingdom had abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Thus, when Yukiya Amano has been quoted as as saying that his meeting with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili heralded a “good atmosphere” for the Baghdad gathering on Wednesday, it must be measured against an INRA report that Jalili referred to Washington as “Hiroshima culprits” who continue to produce and stockpile nuclear weapons, and as such cannot lead the global nonproliferation campaign. Add a withering analysis by Mehdi Mohammadi, domestic political analyst and contributor to the newspaper group Kayhan, detailing why the West is negotiating from a position of weakness, and it seems clear that nothing substantive is likely to come from the latest round of diplomacy save one sobering reality: an apocalyptic regime led by men who believe it is their religious duty to usher in the second coming of the Hidden Imam will not be deterred from its “sacred” mission.
It is a sacred mission which necessitates acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet for Western appeasers who, via the IAEA, have been negotiating with Iran for nine years, there is always room for another round of talks. It is a tragic irony they are incapable of holding the likes of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, and other members of this despicable regime to account.
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