Sunday, November 06, 2005

Iran On the Ropes?

Iran has formally asked France, Germany, and the UK to officially reopen negotiations regarding the enrichment of uranium by the terrorist sponsoring nation. (Washington Post: Iran Asks Europeans To Reopen Discussions).

It has been a difficult month for Iran. Besides facing surprising unity between the EU powers and the US, the IAEA issued a report critical of Iran's nuclear intentions. Their cause was made even more difficult by inflammatory and outrageous statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Those anti-Semitic statements by Ahmadinejad were just what was needed to tip the balance of world opinion against them. Outrage was pretty much universal and Iran quickly found themselves backpedalling from their hard-line stance. Any advantage they may have had in the nuclear negotiations was squandered in that one speech.

So now Iran wishes to return to the bargaining table, but now they do so from a position of weakness. Having called for the complete annihilation of Israel, it's not likely either the US or the EU is going to afford them the opportunity to enhance any aspect of their nuclear program. Furthermore, Iran is increasingly being implicated in having strong ties to al Qaeda, even admitting to holding top al Qaeda operatives. For the first time since 1980, Iran may truly fear a US invasion. That, if anything, is what is driving Iran back to the bargaining table.

Now that the EU and the US have the advantage, it is essential not to let them off the ropes. Iran is a terrorist state. The goal of "wiping Israel off the map" is a very real one. Their desire to obtain nuclear weapons, while certainly not proven, makes perfect sense given their past history. This is an opportunity we must not squander. Public support is very fickle. It would be a huge mistake to not take this opportunity to strike the knockout punch.


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