Roger L. Simon

Department of Uh-Oh

Among the few subjects missing from John Kerry’s droning speech last night was what is probably the most important of all – Iran. Of course, that would be natural since Iran has not attacked us… yet… and the candidate appears to abjure preemption (even with a country that is the greatest sponsor of Hezbollah and Hamas, among other “insurgent groups”). Some of us of a more “hawkish disposition,” however, with a perhaps over-weaning nostalgic feeling for democracy, freedom and women’s rights, are a tad more concerned about the Mad Mullahs. And well we should be according to this late-breaking report from Reuters:

Iran, intensifying a standoff over its nuclear programs, has told European officials it will not back down on its right to proceed with uranium enrichment, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

“The British and the French tell us Iran insists it will not back down on its right to proceed with enrichment,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

During a meeting in Paris on Thursday that included Germany, the three European delegations responded that halting uranium enrichment was fundamental to a deal negotiated with Tehran last October, the U.S. official said.

The Europeans added that “nothing else was coming if Iran didn’t get back on the road to suspension, leading to cessation of enrichment and reprocessing,” the American said.

The European Union trio have given no details of their high-level talks with Iran.

But a French spokesman said in Paris on Friday that they would push ahead with talks on Iran’s nuclear program, even though Washington says a U.N. Security Council showdown is becoming increasingly likely.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, the Mullahs seem to be sticking their Medieval Noses in things as well. According to the Guardian: Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, made a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday and admitted that Washington was becoming increasingly concerned about Iran’s attempts to gain influence in the south of the country.

His warning came with pressure mounting on Tehran because of evidence that the regime has flouted pledges to the International Atomic Energy Agency and has re-embarked on a programme to develop nuclear weapons.

Department of Uh-Oh indeed. Let’s get this straight. If there is one subject that should be front and center in this presidential campaign it is how to deal with Iran. So far Kerry has said virtually nothing. Bush has said more, but not nearly enough. Meanwhile… while we wait for these guys to get their position papers together… I’m going to do all I can to support these guys. I hope you will too.