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Who does Iran think it is fooling?

Aug 24, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Who does Iran think it is fooling?
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The Iranian Government appears to either have an extremely warped sense of humour or is simply living on a different planet from the rest of us. This was displayed yet again today when the Iranian Foreign Ministry made the following statement, as reported by Bloomberg:

“Iran congratulates the Muslim people of Libya for the latest developments that arose from their months-long resistance and stand as another symbol of the popular movements in the region… The popular uprising in Libya shows once more that meeting people’s rightful demands and respect for their opinions are undeniable necessities.”

Of course, the most significant factor separating the Iranian rulers from Gaddafi’s regime when it comes to brutal suppression of the opinions of people with “rightful demands” is that the Iranians succeeded where the Libyans failed.

Joining this theatre of absurdity this morning was Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, who Reuters has quoted proudly boasting of Iran’s transparancy over its nuclear program.

Soltanieh said the visit was the result of meetings Abbasi Davani and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had with IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in late June and mid-July in Vienna respectively.

“This once again shows our nation’s transparent cooperation with the IAEA and the international community,” Soltanieh said.

Where did these inspectors go exactly? Well…

“They were taken to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Fordo and Natanz enrichment facilities, to Isfahan nuclear installations, including the nuclear fuel rod-making plant, and to the Arak heavy water research facility and heavy water production plant,” Soltanieh was quoted as saying.

However, as this blog noted in this post, the US’ main concern is over the top-secret nuclear plant in Qom, which: is run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; is in a near-impenetrable bunker under a mountain; is located near the base of power of Iran’s ruling clerics; and which allegedly has the same technically advanced centrifuges as their primary enrichment plant in Natanz. In addition to all of this, it is off-limits to UN inspectors.

With this in mind, it is not exactly a surprise that the US State Department expressed concern over recent reports that Iran is again expanding its enrichment capability by transferring centrifuges from Natanz to a plant at Fordo.

“These reports are troubling,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington, when asked about the installation of centrifuges.

Iran’s failure to comply with United Nations resolutions to suspend the country’s nuclear enrichment program has “given us all in the international community reason to doubt its intentions,” Nuland said.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

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