Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ahmadinejad Takes Hardline in Jakarta, Officials "Scramble" to Soften Iran's Image

Iran's president made no move toward detente with the West during his state visit to Indonesia today. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called international concerns over Iran's nuclear program "a big lie" and "accus[ed] the United States and other Western nations of monopolizing the nuclear technology market to secure profits while engaging in non-peaceful proliferation," according to this Associated Press story.

Spokesmen (I would say "spokespersons," but this is Iran) for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, took a different approach in their own public statements today. According to the AP, these officials indicated that "Tehran would consider accepting a protocol that provides for intrusive and surprise inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog." This announcement follows Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani's similar statements yesterday.

The supposed disconnect between Ahmadinejad and other officials is, of course, more political chicanery. Iran ended all voluntary IAEA supervision in February, a move that precipitated the current crisis. Tehran has had 3 months to maneuver in secret and is angling for a few more with this move. It's true that Saddam had much, much longer to do the same kinds of things, but he never really was much of a match for Iran, anyway. Wait for Iran's official reaction to the European Plan and see what I mean.


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