Jerusalem stammers, Washington deaf to Iran’s race for nuke

For most of the past decade, Washington and successive Israeli governments have shunted over to “the international community” and “diplomatic engagement” Iran’s hell-bent race for nuclear armament and the missiles for its delivery. New administrations have just taken over in the United States and Israel – but nothing has changed. Incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton decided skepticism about Iranian claims of nuclear successes was the better part of valor, while Binyamin Netanyahu parroted the timorous evasions of his predecessors, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, which left Tehran free to go its own way.
Thursday, April 9, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad exhibited his country’s illicit achievements: a complete nuclear fuel cycle and two new high-capacity enrichment centrifuges. He had no fear of retribution. Astonishingly, Clinton replied that she did not view his claims as a rebuff to US overtures to engage Tehran, although his boasts came the day after the five Security Council permanent members and Germany offered Tehran benefits for talks in which the US would be for the first time fully engaged.
Her consignment of Iran to insuring that the UN International Atomic Energy Agency was “a source of credible information…” must have amused veteran Iranian hands even in Washington.
For nine years or more, the IAEA has missed every twist and turn on the roads to a bomb followed by Iran and North Korea, starting from the nuclear black market run by Pakistan’s Dr. A.Q. Khan for the benefit of Iran, North Korea and Libya, then North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and ballistic development, followed by Syria’s plutonium reactor. Now comes Iran’s nuclear advances in barefaced defiance of the “international community,” a week after North Korea test fired a long-range missile which the US and its allies failed to deter or intercept.
As for Jerusalem, a “top source” said lamely that “Israel does not object to talks between the West and Iran as long as Iran does not take advantage of these talks” – which is exactly what Tehran has been doing for years and is not about to stop now.
“Israel expects the international community [again] to act firmly to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the source said. Oh yes? Isn’t that where we came in three governments ago?
Iran will be a central issue in the talks Netanyahu is scheduled to hold with Barak Obama in Washington early next month, said the same “top source.”
If the Obama administration proposes to rely on the IAEA’s findings in its dealings with Iran, as Clinton proposes, the Israeli prime minister had better not get his hopes up about any real action to stop the Islamic Republic’s race to a bomb.
As for a long-range missile for delivering a nuclear warhead, that too went unnoticed when it was paraded by Tehran in the guise of a satellite launch last month.
Jerusalem’s response to Ahmadinejad’s disclosures was in sharp contrast to Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement before the swearing-in of his new government on March 31: “The primary imperative for the United States and President Barack Obama is to put an end to Iran’s nuclear race,” he said. “If the US failed to do so Israel might be forced to resort to a military strike on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear installations,” he said, adding: “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs.”
The new Israeli prime minister placed two items at the top of his own administration’s agenda: the economic recession and the Iranian nuclear threat. His opening verbal shot against the second was more like a damp squid.

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