Saturday, February 16, 2008

No Shoe Banging Yet Between U.S. and Iran

As the Bush and Olmert administrations escalate their actions against an Iranian nuclear weapon threat, those darned Persians don't always play along. Iran postponed its talks with Iraq and U.S. officials, scheduled for Friday. Did it have anything to do with the Kuwaiti official's remarks on Tuesday?

Persian Gulf nations believe Israel will strike at Iran's nuclear facilities rather than allow Teheran to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Reuters quoted a senior Kuwaiti adviser as saying Tuesday. "I believe in something on the same Iraqi [Osirak reactor] model... We are assuming in the Gulf that Israel will take it out," Sami Alfaraj told Reuters.

What else happened recently that highlighted the Iranian threat?

1. U.S. Undersecretary of State Nick Burns said the United States sees "no need at all" for Iran to build additional nuclear power plants.

2. Reports of Iran's using advanced carbon centrifuge technology raised eyebrows.

3. The Iranian regime continues to pose a serious threat to the security of the United States, Europe and Israel, one "that needs to be countered," Deputy US Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt told members of the Anti-Defamation League's National Executive Committee in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday.

4. Iran's space program could be used to deliver ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

5. The Iranians are able to move secretly money around to fund their illicit activities and sponsor international terror. A Treasury official noted, "they do so through an array of deceptive practices specifically designed to evade detection from the international community. Such deceptive practices are specifically designed to evade the risk-management controls put in place by responsible financial institutions."

6. The U.S. is the reasonable party because we will meet with Iranians anywhere and anytime. Treasury representatives met with them last month on their terror financing. Apparently the Iranians found the Treasury logic difficult, "We know they are funneling money to terror and WMD because there is no evidence of it."

7. Israel's Mossad spy agency estimates Iran will develop a nuclear weapon within three years and continue to provide rockets to regional armed groups, a newspaper reported.

8. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Iraq for two days in early March. Will the U.S. pull an Aristide on him? Will Mahmoud pull a Khrushchev and bang his shoe on the podium? Surely there will be fireworks, more likely sooner than later.