In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.
He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.
"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.
Tomorrow Iran will begin a new round of lying to the IAEA in prelude to further lies being told to the UNSC should the IAEA for once in its existence actually respond to the obvious in a correct manner. It appears that many members of the UNSC, in particular most of those holding the right to veto, are at the point of accepting the blindingly obvious fact that negotiation with a proven notorious liar is a frivolous pursuit. It is reasonable to suppose that sanctions might be imposed on Iraq - except for the effect of such sanctions on China, should Iran retaliate by shutting down oil exports, or upon Russia which has close trade ties involving peddling the Iranians standard weaponry. Should either of these two exercise their veto on a sanctions proposal - what would be the appropriate response from the US?
President Bush named Iran and North Korea as members of the Axis of Evil for very good reasons. The exposure of the AQ Khan "Islamic Bomb Bazaar" occasioned by Libya's renunciation of its clandestine nuclear program make it clear that both nations are into nuclear proliferation up to their necks - as was Pakistan. Pakistan and Libya have given believable assurances that they are no longer in the business, although it would be more comforting if Pakistan would allow close questioning of Dr. Khan by others outside of Pakistan. Korea's endeavors can actually be effectively curtailed fairly easily. As a peninsula with China at its northern border, it is no great task to insure that it does not receive the equipment necessary to continue its nuclear game.
Iran is another matter entirely. Too much porous border with too many untrustworthy neighbors to be left to its own devices. And far too much evidence, not only of duplicity in dealings with international agencies but of actual planning and execution of terrorist attacks. The Iranian regime must be eliminated and the weapons program completely destroyed. To not do so would leave the madmen in Tehran in possession of arms that can be used to extort whatever they please from the rest of the world. That is simply not a viable option.