January 26, 2010
Israel's president, prime minister and foreign minister are visiting Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest this week, apparently impervious to the European Union foreign ministers' decision in Brussels Monday, Jan. 25, to back away from sanctions for Iran's nuclear program outside the UN Security Council.
German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle signed off on the motion, the day before Israeli president Shimon Peres' Hebrew address to the German parliament in Berlin.
The Netanyahu government clings to the anchor of supposed international sanctions for halting Iran's advance on a nuclear weapon. Monday, before traveling to Poland, prime minister Netanyahu said at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum:
"Today there are new Jew haters with new reasons to destroy the Jewish people. This is a test for humanity, and we will see in the coming weeks how the international community will stop the evil before it spreads."Well, he had his answer than same afternoon, yet this eloquence vanished on the plane trips to Europe.
None of the Israeli travelers have commented on the decision by the European foreign ministers to dump the sanctions option in the laps of Russia and China, knowing their vetoes are committed in advance and that both stand out for more diplomatic engagement plus concessions to Tehran. The EU foreign ministers stated:
"With Iran, [sanctions] will work out only if all the UN Security Council permanent members agree."Every one of those ministers was fully aware that this proposition was a fantasy.
If Israel counted on Washington staying the course, there too are signs of cold feet. Obama has reduced the target of possible unilateral measures to the Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is responsible for Iran's nuclear program, in order to avoid harming the Iranian people.
As debkafile has stressed before, the Revolutionary Guards have umpteen mostly criminal ways of beating sanctions:
They run a vast network of straw companies worldwide and move money around through international crime, smuggling, terror and drug conduits out of America's reach rather than the banking system.German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi are undoubtedly Israel's best friends on the European continent, but they too conduct a dual policy on Iran. They sternly denounce Iran, while at the same time hundreds of German and Italian companies do business with the Islamic Republic, some even selling components for its missile and nuclear programs. Indeed, German and Italian firms are in tight competition over the Iranian market, with the latter reportedly gaining the edge this year.
No German transaction with Iran has been cancelled under Israeli pressure contrary to reports to this effect.
The most realistic European leader is French president Nicolas Sarkozy who Tuesday, Jan. 26, called for new and different steps to be pursued to halt Iran's dash for a nuclear bomb. Still, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner did not hold out against his colleagues consensus in Brussels.
January 25, 2010
Attaining the ability to enrich uranium up to 20 percent grade brings Iran dangerously close to "break-out" point for a nuclear weapon capability, debkafile's intelligence sources report.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised the "good news" would be announced during the Feb. 1-11 celebrations of the Islamic Revolution. The "news" was the subject of an urgent cabinet meeting in Jerusalem last week.
His announcement is a provocative mark of contempt for the six world powers and their offer to trade Iran's low-grade uranium for 20 pc enriched product overseas. By going public on the banned process and abandoning concealment, Iran's rulers are throwing down the gauntlet to them and Israel.
debkafile's Iranian sources report that the hawks of the Islamic regime led by Ahmadinejad and spiritual ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have won the day for their tactics of jumping ahead of any possible US-led or Israel steps against their nuclear program by pursuing its own aggressive initiatives.
The Iranian president's enrichment announcement at a time that the Obama administration is pondering tough sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards was part of this policy; so were the Syrian and Hizballah declarations of military preparedness for a purported Israeli attack last week, taking advantage of an IDF war game to raise the alarm.
Our political sources predict that Tehran's provocative move will be met with more of the five months of foot-dragging with which Washington and Jerusalem have met Iran's contempt for one deadline after another for ending nuclear enrichment. Both will continue to dither and pretend that stiff sanctions will scotch the Iranian nuclear threat. The Netanyahu government will keep up the pretence that the world and its sanctions can do the job. Tehran has meanwhile made good use of those five months to go forward and achieve a 20 pc enrichment capability.
The only straight talk from any Western leader has come from French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Saturday, Jan. 23, he told visiting Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri that France has evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons contrary to its claims. He warned that Israel "would not stand by while Iran develops nuclear weapons.
January 23, 2010
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Israel will not sit idly by while Iran continues work on its nuclear program, Israel Radio reported Saturday quoting London-based newspaper Al-Hayat.
According to the report, Sarkozy, who recently met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, reportedly told him that France has proof Iran is working to develop an atomic bomb.
"Israel might take action to prevent the Iranian regime, which wants to wipe it off the map, from obtaining a nuclear bomb," Sarkozy reportedly said.Sarkozy also reportedly said that if he had to choose between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he would prefer the Israeli leader despite some diplomatic differences they may have.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Sarkozy said the European Union should also "assume its responsibilities" in putting pressure on Tehran to enter into negotiations.
"To hesitate or to prevaricate in the face of such an issue would carry with it a great weight of responsibility," Sarkozy said while addressing EU diplomats. "The only aim of sanctions is to lead Iran to the negotiating table," he added.Iran has ignored U.S. President Barack Obama's end of 2009 deadline to respond to an offer from six world powers of economic and political incentives in exchange for halting its uranium enrichment program.
However, UN security council members, Russia and China, both appear reluctant to impose more sanctions on Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Friday that world powers should beware of pushing Iran into a corner.
But Sarkozy said the time had come for the international community to draw the consequences of Iran's refusal to talk.
"Despite all our efforts, and a new engagement by the United States, and despite our ambitious proposals for cooperation, the Iranian authorities are blocked in a one-way street of proliferation and radicalism," Sarkozy said.
"Today, they have added to that the brutal repression of their own people," he added.
"France wants the [UN Security] Council to adopt strong measures and for the European Union as well to assume its responsibilities," he said.
He added that North Korea should be treated in similar fashion.