Monday, September 04, 2006

Iran: Why the Secrecy?

Die Welt:
European Union foreign ministers met in Finland, at Lappeenranta, on Saturday to back High Representative Javier Solana's continued discussions with Iran. 'Solana said he would not need extensive sessions with Iran to clarify the remaining questions, but did not provide any timetable nor was one set by the EU Foreign Ministers.'

Britain, France and Germany each received a secret letter in response to the demand that Iran cease producing nuclear fuel. 'Some of the other EU states are growing impatient with the secretive handling of the Iran issue by foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the EU's "big three" ... 22 out of the 25 ministers were not allowed to see a "top secret" 21-page report which Tehran produced last week explaining its position - a document only seen by Mr Solana and the so-called EU-3.'

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has just been to Tehran, with its Holocaust cartoon exhibition and proposed Holocaust denial conference. Regarding the uranium enrichment programme, he told Iran they now have two more weeks tacked on to the deadline.

Why is Iran given so much leeway? READ MORE

Like Russia and China during the Cold War, Iran is being allowed to develop its nuclear capacity because war is not an option. No country is ready to challenge Iran effectively.

Take a look at the published letters from President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad: the letters to President George Bush and to Chancellor Angela Merkel. At best, these are embarrassing, even humorous. But actually they're rather worrying. Their combination of sycophantic flattery, tendentious argument and idiosyncratic construction shows the work of a cunning yet unbalanced mind, an autodictat lost in a fantasy world of unconstrained ambition and hatred.

Ahmadinijad is consciously creating a volatile situation from which to gain maximum advantage for Iran. He's painting himself into a corner, making war inevitable, while the world's leaders are trying their best not to ignore it.

Solana has a theory about the 'logic of war' which he discussed when he visited Israel at the start of the recent Lebanese conflict. He's against it.

Yet the credible threat of war is the stick that must accompany the carrot of peace if diplomacy is to work. The way Solana and Kofi Annan openly recoil from the use of force makes it impossible to present Iran with a robust response to their defiance on nuclear enrichment. Ahmadinijad knows he can continue with impunity.

The European Union and the United Nations are natural havens for appeasers. Anything but war. Today's European ethos is to maintain peace through employment and economic opportunity. The Iranians understand this.

With their secret letters, they have explained to each of their potential opponents individually and separately why they should let Iran follow its chosen course, in each case adjusting the argument to the recipient's situation. Each letter must surely contain the same sort of gibberish we've already seen in those sent earlier.

This makes it impossible to publish their contents. If the public were to realise what Ahmadinijad was writing to their leaders, war would be only a matter of time. So the world's leaders are left humouring Ahmadinijad, hoping he doesn't actually mean what he says but not confident enough in their faith to actually tell us what he's saying.