If you’re a nuclear criminal, the Obama administration wants to talk to you.
That’s the message delivered on Friday to the world’s two most dangerous renegade states, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. First, the State Department, in what CNN termed “a dramatic policy shift,” announced the United States was willing to engage in bilateral discussions with North Korea. Since the institution of three-party talks in April 2003, Washington has insisted on multilateral discussions with Pyongyang. In April, the North said it would no longer participate in the so-called six-party talks, the successor to the three-party ones.
At the same time, the State Department said it would participate in a broad dialogue with Iran, accepting Tehran’s proposal submitted on Wednesday to Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to restart talks. But the Iranians stated they would not discuss their nuclear program, the international community’s primary concern. Instead, they offered to engage in what a Western diplomat called “a holistic conversation” about global affairs in general. “If Iran is willing to enter into serious negotiations, then they will find a willing participant in the United States and other countries,” said State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley on Friday.
This was too much, even for the New York Times. While endorsing the general concept of dialogue with the mullahs, the paper noted “there is no sign that Iran is serious about doing much more than buying more time.” Since the International Atomic Energy Agency announced in August 2003 that it had found traces of highly enriched uranium at a facility in Natanz, the “atomic ayatollahs” have been using talks — and the prospects of talks — to give their technicians time to advance bomb-building capabilities. This decade, Iran’s negotiators have, to representatives of the international community, lied, stalled, and told the truth only when they had no alternative.
And as a result of their successful tactics, the mullahs can build an atomic device in less than a year. How do we know this? A week ago, Glyn Davies, Washington’s chief IAEA representative, stated Iran now has — or is close to having — enough lowly enriched uranium for one nuke. Because the mullahs possess the technology to enrich uranium, they can spin their centrifuges and produce the bomb-grade material needed for the core of a weapon. The actual device is so easy to assemble that a nation does not even need to test it. The initial test of America’s uranium bomb, the first in history, was over Hiroshima. Therefore, once Iran produces highly enriched uranium, we have to assume it has become a nuclear weapons state.