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By Micah Halpern

Friday October 30, 2009


Once upon a time, there were many super powers. There was China, Russia and the Untied States. There was Great Britain, France and Germany. Now there is one super power. Iran.

We are not quite there yet, but we are pretty close.

Iran has successfully blind sided, out maneuvered and trumped not only the permanent members of the Security Council but also the rest of the United Nations, most of the Western world and the International Atomic Energy Agency. And none of them saw it happening and most of them still don't realize it has happened.

Just look at Iran's response to the draft agreement proposed to them regarding nuclear development. The countries offering the proposal - the UN Security Council members, truly believed they were handing Iran a dream package. They took a proposal originally initiated by Iran, re-wrapped it and handed it back on a silver platter.

According to this new/old proposal, Iran would send 75% of its uranium to France and Russia to be enriched. The uranium would be returned and Iran would use it for the purposes of cancer research conducted at a nuclear facility originally built by the United States. That uranium would be enriched at the low levels of 5%-8%. This deal would, at the same time, insure that Iran retains the right to develop nuclear technology and prevent the Iranians from increasing enrichment to the higher levels required to create a nuclear weapon.

The ultimate objective of the proposal was to gain time. The West would continue negotiations with Iran and if lucky, keep the discussion on-going for a year. In that year, hopefully, Iran would be prevailed upon to keep their nuclear program in the experimental scientific stages and Israel would become convinced that Iran is not a threat. The clock would slow down, pressure would be relieved, Israel would take the option of a military strike off the table for a while and the world would be a safer place all around.

And Iran turned down the proposal.

Not only did Iran turn down the proposal, but Iran turned it down a week after deadline. Iran was instructed to respond to the proposal by last Friday. They responded the following Thursday, following their own timetable and asserting their independence.

The Iranians know that they are in control. They know that they will survive sanctions and they laugh in the face of censure. Iran considers itself to be not an equal among nations, but a superior nation - and that is exactly how they conduct the business of diplomacy and the art of negotiations.

Iran has a counter proposal to the draft agreement that was put before them, an opening salvo to what will inevitably be a long series of negotiations during which Iran will probably, ultimately, receive most of if not everything Iranian leadership wants.

Iran countered by suggesting that the 75% of the uranium they are to send to France and Russia come out in stages, that they retain the ability to enrich uranium and that they have the right to import enriched uranium as they see fit. It is certainly an interesting counter proposal and not only because it flies in the face of pre-existing UN resolutions which forbid the exportation of nuclear materials to Iran. But, then again, Iran always labeled those resolutions illegal.

A large part of the world holds the United Nations in high esteem. Iran does not. A large part of the world either fears or respects the United States. Iran does neither. Iran knows how important it is not to draw Israel into an air strike, but they will handle that. And Iran has already figured out the problem of sanctions against them by instating a new monthly limit of 50 liters of gasoline per driver and by lining up gas imports from Venezuela and China.

It is time for world leaders to take Iran seriously. Otherwise, this story will not have a happy ending.

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4 June 2017 12:13 PM in Columns

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