Iran to US: You Went along with Our Nuclear Program. How about Our N-Bomb too?
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili laid out his government’s expectations of the next stage of US-led international diplomacy when he advised the West Monday, April 23 to make “a correct assessment” of Iran’s atomic capabilities in the important talks due to be held in Baghdad next week.
Speaking to visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Jalili said successful talks were contingent on this assessment, and explained: “The outcome of the Baghdad meeting depends on a correct assessment by the West of Iran’s regional, national and international capability. The countries involved in the talks should realize that the Islamic state is consistent in its resolve to consolidate and upgrade its capabilities.”
Translation: Iran comes to the table as a full equal of the world powers – not as a rogue in the dock owing the world an accounting on its nuclear program. After obtaining US recognition of its right to a nuclear program, Iran expects due respect from the major powers as a preeminent regional force in consideration of its size, population and economic stature in the region – plus recognition of its strategic entitlement to the complete range of nuclear capabilities.
Given Jalili’s narrow and dogmatic cast of mind, the authorship of this bargaining tactic is attributed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iranian sources to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al Khamenei.
The foxy ayatollah was typically confronting President Barack Obama with a fresh demand.
Now that you’ve agreed to recognize our nuclear program and its continuation, you must understand that the Islamic state is consistent in its determination to “consolidate and upgrade its (nuclear) capabilities.”
A policy underpinned by a phantom fatwa?
In Washington, meanwhile, a fierce debate was developing around the fatwa prohibiting the possession by a Muslim state of a nuclear weapon which Khamenei purportedly issued in 2005. On this edict, the Obama administration has largely hinged its diplomatic strategy and outreach to Tehran.
It was hailed on April 3 by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “authentic and serious” – and therefore “a starting point for being operationalized” and the “entryway into a negotiation.”
Although this fatwa was said to have been in force for seven years, no one thought to ask Clinton whether the Islamic republic had itself honored this religious dictate, or why the White House set such store by it.
As it turned out, a certain amount of digging proved the Khamenei fatwa non-existent.
Friday, April 20, Yigal Carmon and Ayelet Savyon, heads the MEMRI research institute, and former UN Ambassador Dore Gold published separate reports on their researches, both of which had failed to turn up the famous fatwa in any records.
That being so, could the US be counting on a phantom Shiite edict to underwrite Tehran’s promises?
Another damning revelation appeared in The Washington Post on April 23:
“In 2009 the International Atomic Energy Agency prepared a collection of statements made by Iranian leaders about nuclear weapons, as gleaned from intelligence sources. It includes an April 1994 meeting in which Khamenei allegedly endorsed a decision by then-leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [founding father of Iran’s Islamic revolution] to launch a secret nuclear weapons program. According to Ayatollah Khamenei, ‘this was the only way to secure the very essence of the Islamic Revolution from the schemes of its enemies… and to prepare it for the emergence of Imam Mahdi who will purge the world of evil in humanity’s last days.”
Not just Israel, by Sunni Arabs too up in arms against Obama
The Obama administration, by leaning over backwards towards Iran and dragging the nuclear issues onto the hazardous ground of theological polemic on the value of Shiite fatwas, has added to Israel’s mistrust and appalled the Arab world’s Sunni rulers and peoples, especially in the Gulf and Egypt, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Middle East sources say.
Some attribute what they see as Obama’s pro-Shiite aberration to what is happening in Syria.
There, the administration is not lifting a finger to stop the Alawite President Bashar Assad, whose minority sect is related to the Shia, slaughtering Syrian Sunnis. So it is no wonder, they say, that the same Obama administration is willing to go along with Iran developing a Shiite nuclear bomb.
Those rulers point out that by his pro-Shiite bias, Obama contradicts the spirit of his celebrated address to the Muslim world from the Sunni capital of Cairo on June 4, 2009, when he heralded “a new beginning between the US and the Muslims around the world” – not just the minority Shiite sect.
Not content with its gains thus far, Tehran is further fortifying its diplomatic bargaining position with three military moves, outlined in the next article.