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September 11, 2006
Ahmadinejad As Monty Hall

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to play Monty Hall, the Guardian reports. He has offered an eight-week window in which he will refrain from uranium enrichment, a short respite that puts pressure on the West to reach a deal before Teheran opens Door #1:

Iran offered to freeze its uranium enrichment programme yesterday for eight weeks in what looked like a successful tactic aimed at delaying consideration of international sanctions.

In talks at the weekend in Vienna between Iran's national security chief, Ali Larijani, and the European Union's foreign policy supremo, Javier Solana, Tehran appeared to concede enough to prevent a quick move to sanctions by the UN security council.

Washington is pressing for a swift decision on sanctions after Tehran failed to meet the terms of a security council resolution requiring it to freeze its uranium enrichment activities in order to resume negotiations with the west, Russia and China. The weekend talks in Vienna were seen as a final chance to avert a bigger confrontation. But EU officials said yesterday that there would be further talks as a result of the weekend session.

Of course, this could be on the level. Iran has not sold its populace on the need to alienate the West in its drive for the nuclear cycle, and may need to cut a deal or be seen trying to do so for political cover back home. Larijani might even make a good enough deal to renounce the nuclear cycle if the West acted quickly.

However, it seems much more likely that the Iranians want to split the West even further with this latest tactic. Adolf Hitler used to use much the same strategy during the 1930s. He would violate treaties and agreements, and then turn around and offer to sign new agreements that recognized the new status quo. Without exception, the war-weary West agreed, unwilling to use force to hold Germany to its obligations. Ahmadinejad has measured his opponents and found them similarly lacking in fortitude, too anxious for a deal and not willing to apply even diplomatic force to stop Iran.

If we thought the Iranians made this offer in good faith, we'd celebrate this as a breakthrough. However, the narrow window of cessation shows that the Iranian offer is nothing more than a stunt. An eight-week pause means little for their enrichment program. Iran will use it as a Sword of Damocles against the West, a clock ticking while the Europeans rush to give Iran everything and the kitchen sink before the clock runs out.

If I'm wrong, I'd be happy to admit it. If Iran really gives up enrichment, then we'll all be better off. I think there's more chance that the Democratic Party will advertise on tonight's installment of "The Path to 9/11".

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 11, 2006 5:00 AM

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Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani (L) meets European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel’s office in Vienna September 9, 2006. The Guardian: Iran offers to freeze uranium enrich... [Read More]

Tracked on September 11, 2006 7:04 AM


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