Remarks by ElBaradei encourage Iran to pursue nuclear ambitions

Nima Sharif
Mr. ElBaradei, in a surprising remark, has invited the international community to accept the fact that Iran has now achieved nuclear know-how and can produce enriched uranium at industrial levels.  Such remarks, from someone at ElBaradei’s position, are unconstructive and can not help in any way but to embolden the Iranian regime to continue its defiance.

The International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) recently-published report stresses that not only has the Iranian regime defied the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737 and 1747 calling for the immediate suspension of its uranium enrichment program, it has also started up and expanded the production of its centrifuges. The Iranian mullahs have utilized at least 1,300 centrifuges to enrich uranium on a much larger scale.

Moreover, in recent weeks, the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have repeatedly stated that the regime will press ahead and will not back away even one step from pursuit of nuclear program and uranium enrichment.
Iran’s defiance continues despite extensive offers by the West of concessions and incentives and expressions of will to negotiate with the regime. 

The Iranian regime knows for a fact that with all the developments in the region and the troubles it faces at home, its only chance for survival is to acquire nuclear weapons and spread its rule in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

Preventing the realization of a nuclear armed Iran is still possible.  But we must act and we must act quickly.  What the situation requires is not more flexibility towards the mullahs.  On the contrary we need to have a firm stance in dealing with them.

Mr. ElBaradei’s comments to allow the Iranian mullahs to have some degree of uranium enrichment do not serve this purpose.

Mr. ElBaradei’s responsibility at the IAEA is to ensure that the Iranian regime will not acquire nuclear weapons.  The stance he takes is very sensitive and important and should not be politically or otherwise motivated.

Unfortunately during the past few years, ever since the existence of a clandestine nuclear program in Iran has been exposed, Mr. ElBaradei has failed to help prevent further progress of the program.  His weak stance has actually hindered a preventive measure to be adopted by the United Nations and the international community.  Now he says that Iran has reached the point of no return, so it must be tolerated.

It must be known and understood that the Iranian mullahs are in fact perusing a military goal in their nuke program.  One must keep in mind that there was not a need to conceal development of a peaceful nuclear program for 18 years just to come to light by the Iranian oppositions, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.  Throughout the 18 years, the extent of the cover-up and the size of the program are considerable.

Furthermore, Iran by now could have easily diverted the current international pressures if it did not have any military ambitions.

To understand the impact of such remarks by Mr. ElBaradei, we need not look much far.  All we have to do is to see who is encouraged here.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki praised ElBaradei for his remarks.  "Naturally we approve of part of ElBaradei’s comments and that is admitting to Iran’s nuclear capacity and Iran’s entry to industrial nuclear fuel production. We are happy that ElBaradei as someone who is in charge of the nuclear question has acknowledged these issues," Mottaki told reporters.