NO Means NO!

Iran proudly raised the diplomatic and political equivalent of a middle finger to any and all who question their right to do just exactly as they damn well please.  On the heels of the recent IAEA report where the IAEA, finally, got around to recognizing the scope of the Iranian program and the reports’ acceptance by the IAEA Board Iran responded by announcing a vast expansion of their program.  For those who follow closely, this was no surprise.   

The Iranian message is very simple and very consistent; it’s the same message they’ve delivered in a variety of manifestations for years; NO! No, we do not recognize your authority over us, No, we will not accept your limitations, No, and there will be no cessation.  These are, if you’ve forgotten, the same folks who after years of European diplomacy insulted the Europeans publically by thanking them for the five extra stress free years to accelerate progress with their nuclear program.  Iran has been consistently belligerent, non compliant, evasive and smarter by half than the folks across the table as they moved toward their goal of weaponization.  Wednesday’s announcement by President Ahmadinejad that 20% enriched uranium was close at hand is another case in point and a significant benchmark. 

Iran sees nothing in recent history that would motivate them to alter their course at this point in time.  Iranian leadership believes fully in the justifications for their behaviors.

Iran has had its way with Russia, China, the entire European Union, the U.N. the IAEA, two U.S. administrations and a fair portion of the 3rd world.  They, without question, viewed the manner of America’s policy of engagement as weakness, if there is anything that the Iranians have experience with over the past six years it’s identifying and dealing with weakness, in the person of our European allies and the IAEA.

Russia, as well, has raised the political middle finger demonstrated by four agreements signed the day after the IAEA report.  The deal included cooperation agreements dealing with oil, natural gas and telecommunications; the presence of Russian nuclear scientists in Iran in ongoing.  The signals from Russia are clear, meaningless votes for IAEA resolutions not withstanding!  Same goes for China as a recently announced project to develop Iranian petroleum refining represents a significant economic partnership.  Same signal!  In the final analysis, don’t count on any support from Russia and China; it is in both of their interests to see the U.S. and E.U. being pushed into a dangerous corner.

Iran has for years, prepared for sanctions and worse.  Iran has made deals for refined petroleum with Venezuela, solidified economic relationships with Russia and China, procured weapons and missiles from North Korea and aligned with nearly every anti U.S. regime they could find, including those in our own hemisphere.  Iranian support for Hiz’bAllah, Hamas and a variety of terror organizations has created a retaliatory potential that demands attention and could provide for ongoing intimidation of Western powers.

Iran is saying, NO!  This is your reality check, time to wake up, NO means NO!  There will be NO meaningful engagement, NO effective diplomacy, NO backing down and NO deals!

What is Iran counting on?  They are counting on their own population to continue to take pride in the nuclear program, absent, in all likelihood, any popular information related to the potential consequences.  They are counting on European pacifism to dominate valid security concerns.  They are counting on the threat of terrorism from surrogates to cower regional and European opponents. They are counting on Europe to continue to live in fear of their own Muslim populations.  They are counting on the growing tide of thought that argues the world can “live with” a nuclear Iran as the ultimate point of appeasement.  They are, most importantly, counting on the U.S. to do nothing beyond feckless engagement and to possibly serve as a roadblock to the promised potential of an Israeli strike. 

Now that Iran has staked out its most aggressive position yet, they will likely send some manner of signal that there might be a little something to talk about after all; that has been the pattern for some time.  Each time Iran has suggested some level of engagement the allies have dropped their pants and ankle danced over the Tehran armed with little more than hope, lots of carrots, no sticks and continuing confidence in the magic Unicorn of diplomatic engagement as the solution to a rogue regime!

The great hope expressed for progress based on the meetings in Geneva came to nothing, as predicted in this space.  In the Iranian view, as long as the U.S. can be drawn into a hope against hope diplomatic engagement, Israel will hold their military water.  

It’s all about time, a reasonable prediction can be taken that Iran does not need a lot more time.  If Iran needed considerably more time they simply would not have made the announcement they made or taken the position they took last week.

 NO means NO!