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April 22, 2004
Even Chirac Now Admits Iran Cheats

The New York Times reports today that Europe has slowly started to move towards the US position on Iran and its nascent nuclear program, as French president Jacques Chirac has now publicly chastised Iran's non-compliance:

In a hardening of Europe's position toward Iran's nuclear activities, President Jacques Chirac of France criticized Iran on Wednesday for failing to comply fully with international inspections of its nuclear sites, and suggested that Iran had violated the spirit of an agreement with France, Germany and Britain to curtail its nuclear programs, senior French officials said.

In a 45-minute meeting at lyse Palace with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi of Iran, Mr. Chirac also warned Tehran that unless it met the demands of the United Nations' weapons inspection agency before that group gathers in June for what he called a "decisive" meeting, it ran the risk that international goodwill would be eroded.

Better late than never, I suppose, but had the Europeans not clucked their tongues at us a couple of months ago when we said essentially the same thing, we may have moved further along towards a resolution. Losing time when confronting nuclear proliferation is a critical mistake, as events in North Korea proved. Inspectors have found quite a bit of evidence of Iranian opacity on the question of nuclear armament, and the discovery of military-caliber centrifuges on an Iranian Air Force base should have really been the lever with which to move the UN Security Council to take up the matter.

Those UNSC members who complained that Americans didn't operate under UN auspices in Iraq have been oddly reluctant to do the same with Iran. Chirac and the rest of Europe has been hesitant to allow the US and the UK to raise the subject in the UNSC because we finally demonstrated that UNSC resolutions carry severe consequences when ignored, instead of passing meaningless resolutions that everyone "knows" are toothless. Regardless, with Iranian instransigence unlikely to change in the near future, the time is coming for the West to demand compliance with Iran's IAEA commitments, and to take steps to make sure they know we're serious. Otherwise, the Israelis -- who figure to be #1 on the Iranian hit parade -- may soon decide to pull another Osirak-style pre-emptive strike.

At least, I hope they do.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 22, 2004 7:03 PM

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