Monday, May 30, 2005

Nuclear Talks Doomed, Says Ex U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary

Adnkronos International:
Former US assistant defence secretary and Pentagon hawk, Richard Perle, is pessimistic about the on-going negotiations between Iran and European countries over Iran's nuclear acitivities. "The United States will wait patiently for the end of these negotiations, even if personally I don't believe that they will provide any positive outcome," said Perle in a telephone interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) from his Washington office. READ MORE

The European Union trio of France, Germany and Britain, is trying to use diplomacy to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear activities, in exchange for economic and trade incentives. Iran maintains its nuclear energy programme is solely for civilian purposes, but has come under increasing international pressure, prompted by suspicions, particularly from the United States, that it is covertly developing nuclear weapons.

Perle, who served as assistant defence secretary during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, particiapted in the Iran Freedom Walk, a protest event against Tehran which began two weeks ago in Philadelphia, and ended on Saturday in front of the White House in Washington D.C. The walk was organised by the Iran Freedom Foundation (IFF), an organisation opposed to Iran's Islamic rulers.

Once the negotiations, which have to end by July, fail, the Europeans will have to accept a more severe line in their confrontations with Tehran," Perle told AKI.

"Iran's rulers have hardened their stance in the talks with Europe since they are now feeling trapped between the two developing democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan," said Perle, a leading exponent of the neo-conservative lobby group close to Presidetn George W. Bush.

It is true that these two countries [Iraq and Afghanistan] are young democracies and are facing many problems, even serious ones, but with respect to their previous rogue regimes, the situation now is decisively better," added the former assistant defence secretary.

The Ayatollahs in Tehran, don't know how to respond to the demands from their own citizens. Iranians are asking why is it that while Iraqis and Afghans can freely choose their president and political representatives, they in Iran have to accept the choices dictated by an unelected oraganisation like the Guardian Council that has the last word of the selection of candidates," added Perle.

Simply put, the Ayatollahs are afraid of democracy," said Perle. "In order to maintain their power, they are prepared to commit any type of inhuman act."