Thursday, March 30, 2006

UN urges Iran to halt enrichment

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a statement urging Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

The vote was taken shortly after the text had been agreed by the five permanent members of the council.
It follows weeks of wrangling between the US, UK, Russia, China and France over the details of a text that sets out the UN's response to the issue.
Iran says its nuclear programme is being developed for peaceful purposes and has refused to stop its activities.
The agreement - which is not legally binding - comes ahead of Thursday's meeting of foreign ministers from the five members, as well as Germany, in Berlin to discuss a future strategy on Iran.
It was reached after France and the UK drew up a third version of a draft statement that made concessions to Russia and China.
Altered text
Moscow and Beijing, both allies of Iran, were concerned that Security Council involvement could lead to sanctions against Iran and wanted the IAEA to take the lead.
The latest statement repeats the call for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, but omits some of the detailed demands - referring instead to an IAEA resolution on the issue.
It again calls for the IAEA's director general to report back on Iran's compliance, but extends the deadline from 14 to 30 days.
And while it no longer says the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a threat to international peace and security, the draft statement does refer to the Security Council's responsibility to maintain peace.

Iran Defiantly Rejects New U.N. Demands


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday the "international community is united" in the dispute over its nuclear program, but a Tehran envoy defiantly rejected a U.N. call to reimpose a freeze on uranium enrichment. Rice spoke after a meeting in Berlin among diplomats from the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany over ways to press Iran to stop enriching uranium, which can be used for weapons. Iran says its program is peaceful.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


زايش ايران نوين و آغاز سال 6370 شاهنشاه? بر فرزندان آريابوم شاد باد

Monday, March 20, 2006


جشن نوروز ، جشن نو شدن راشادباش ميگويم

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rice: Iran 'terror's central bank'

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday urged Iran to resume negotiations over its nuclear program, while also calling the country a central banker for terrorism.

Rice was speaking after meeting her Australian counterpart Alexander Downer for talks that covered topics including Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions, Indonesia's development and the recent nuclear deal between Washington and India.
Rice called Iran a "troublesome state" and the "central banker of terrorism," though she didn't elaborate on that, and said it was time for the country to "heed the international community's call" to resume negotiations on its nuclear program.
Rice said she was "quite certain the (U.N.) Security Council will find an appropriate vehicle for expressing again ... the desire of the international community ... that Iran return to negotiations."
Earlier this week, China and Russia objected to a tough U.N. Security Council statement backed by the United States, Britain and France calling for a report in two weeks on Iran's compliance with demands that it suspend uranium enrichment.
The five veto-wielding council members are united against Iran developing nuclear weapons, but they disagree on how to get Tehran to comply with demands by the U.N. nuclear watchdog to stop all enrichment and reprocessing and answer questions about its controversial nuclear program.
Uranium enrichment can be used either in the generation of electricity or to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is to produce nuclear energy but the International Atomic Energy Agency has raised concerns that Tehran might be seeking nuclear arms.
At the same wide-ranging joint press conference with Downer, Rice also said she expects Iraq to have a secure and stable government within a couple of years, and called on China to be transparent about its military buildup.
"I think there is a very good chance that the Iraqi people, with the support of their coalition partners, will have built the foundation for a stable and secure Iraq over the next couple of years," she said, just days away from the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


If Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful, why are there concerns?Well, there shouldn't be any - if Iran can be believed.Iran insists all it wants to do is provide a stable supply of electricity to a country of 70 million. Iran's goal is to generate 7,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants by 2020.Sounds good, so far. But it's the second part of Iran's goal that has some worried. Tehran also wants to be self-sufficient in making fuel for its reactors. The process that makes nuclear power fuel, though, is also used to make material that can be used in nuclear weapons.Still, under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, a country has the right to make its own nuclear fuel - as long as the process is closely monitored. Most countries that generate nuclear power import the fuel they need.The International Atomic Energy Agency - the UN body responsible for monitoring the treaty - hasn't been convinced that Iran has been completely forthcoming about its nuclear intentions.Some western countries also argue that Iran does not need to generate power from nuclear plants because it is rich in oil and natural gas deposits.
Hasn't Iran opened its program to inspections?Yes, according to Iran. Not totally, according to the IAEA.In 2002, Washington became very concerned after intelligence reports pointed to the existence of two secret nuclear facilities. According to an Iranian opposition group, the plants had been funded by front companies. The IAEA said the construction of the plants may have violated Iran's obligations to the agency - especially if Iran introduced nuclear material into the facility to test it, without informing the IAEA.Through much of 2003, Iran allowed inspectors into the country.On June 19, 2003, the IAEA called on Tehran to stop plans to begin enriching uranium and to allow inspectors the access they would need to clarify questions over Iran's nuclear program. The agency did not declare Iran in violation of its treaty obligations, nor did it refer the matter to the UN Security Council, as some U.S. officials had urged. The IAEA's director general - Mohamed ElBaradei - said the country had failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities.In August 2003, UN inspectors reported they had found traces of weapons-grade, enriched uranium in an Iranian nuclear facility - but that it could take months to fully analyse the material.On Sept. 12, 2003, the IAEA board of governors expressed "grave concern that, more than one year after initial IAEA inquiries to Iran about undeclared activities, Iran has still not enabled the IAEA to provide the assurances that all nuclear material in Iran is declared and submitted to Agency safeguards and that there are no undeclared nuclear activities in Iran." The board called on Iran to fully co-operate with the IAEA and ensure there are no more failures to own up to its nuclear capabilities - or risk being declared in contravention of the non-proliferation treaty.A toughly worded United Nations resolution, which strongly deplored "Iran's 18-year cover-up of a nuclear program including uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing," prompted Iran to freeze nuclear inspections.In March 2006, the IAEA sent a dossier to the UN Security Council that accused Iran of withholding information. After looking into the "Iran file" for three years, the agency said it had serious doubts about the nature and direction of Iran's nuclear program.
Is Iran working on its own?In September 2003, the United States chastised Russia for helping Iran in its nuclear program. Russia said it was helping only with the technology to generate nuclear power.In February 2004, the man who developed Pakistan's nuclear program admitted he transferred nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Abdul Qadeer Khan reportedly sold centrifuge parts to Iran for about $3 million. Centrifuges are used in the process of making fuel for nuclear power plants - and material for nuclear weapons.Pakistan's president pardoned Khan.
What has been the European Union's involvement?The EU, fronted by Britain, France and Germany, has been quite active in trying to avert a crisis. Two of those three countries - France and Germany - have been at odds with the United States over its involvement in Iraq.There have been concerns that Washington has contemplated acting against Iran since President Bush's "axis of evil" speech identified Iran as a problem country, mainly because of its alleged nuclear aspirations.The EU wants Iran to get out of uranium enrichment and promise to co-operate fully with the IAEA. In exchange, Iran would get a light-water nuclear reactor, nuclear fuel and trade benefits. Spent nuclear fuel would be removed from the country.The U.S. has stayed away from the European initiative, neither endorsing nor condemning it.
Where do things stand now?In November 2004, the EU and Iran made an agreement that Iran would suspend its program to produce enriched uranium while the IAEA continues its investigation. The EU would not refer the issue to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. The U.S. reserved its right to press for sanctions.In August 2005, after the inauguration of a new president, Iran rejected the EU package of proposals aimed at curbing its nuclear activity. A few days later, Iran resumed its nuclear program, reopening its uranium conversion plant in Isfahan in the presence of IAEA inspectors. European diplomats had expressed concern that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be less co-operative than the previous government. The IAEA adopted a resolution presenting Tehran with a Sept. 3 deadline to stop its uranium enrichment activities or face possible referral to the Security Council. Tehran reacted with defiance, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry calling the resolution an "unacceptable" result of American pressure. So far, the IAEA has hesitated to refer the matter to the Security Council because of the risk that it will not approve sanctions. China has indicated in the past that it could use its veto power to block a resolution against Iran. In October 2005, the United States and France urged Iran to return to the negotiating table in an effort to curb its nuclear arms program. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she wants the talks to restore faith in the international community. She wants reassurances Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon. Rice met with British, French and Russian leaders, trying to gain support to report Iran to the UN Security Council. In January 2006, Iran escalated the confrontation by removing the UN seals at one its uranium-enrichment plants and resuming nuclear research. Iran denied it's producing nuclear fuel by enriching uranium. But the U.S. and its EU allies again warned Iran that it risks referral to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. In March 2006, the IAEA sent its report on Iran to the UN Security Council. That report, which was highly critical of Iran's non-compliance with the IAEA's nuclear inspection efforts, would be the basis for possible Security Council sanctions against Iran. But diplomats said it was unlikely that the U.S. would press for sanctions as a first step. They said it was more likely that the 15 members of the Security Council would issue a presidential statement that would demand that Iran comply with IAEA resolutions.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

U.S. missed an opportunity with Iran

Iran said to have notified State Department in ‘03 of willingness to negotiate over WMDs, but ex-officials say Bush team didn’t want to deal

February 18, 2006, 10:38 PM EST

In May 2003, shortly after the U.S. military destroyed the army of Saddam Hussein, a fax arrived at the State Department with an Iranian offer to open talks that would include a discussion of weapons of mass destruction.The one-page document was written by Sadegh Kharazi, Iran's ambassador to France and nephew of Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and passed on by the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who represented U.S. interests in Iran, a former administration official said.

The official, who saw the document, said it indicated that Iran wanted to negotiate a grand political bargain with the United States that would include everything from Iran's nuclear program to its support for groups that Washington regards as terrorist."The Iranians acknowledged that WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and support for terror were serious causes of concern for us, and they were willing to negotiate," said Flynt Leverett, a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council who said he read the document. "The message had been approved by all the highest levels of authority. They wanted us to deal with sanctions, security guarantees, normalization of relations, and support for integration of Iran into the World Trade Organization."Influenced by IraqThe fax was one of a series of informal soundings that emanated from Tehran in the months after the United States invasion of Iraq. Iran's envoys to Sweden and Britain also began sending signals that the regime was ready to negotiate a deal, according to a former Western diplomat closely familiar with the messages. Iran was sending messages through other back-channels as well, according to Paul Pillar, who served as the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005."There were several other informed intellectuals who visited Iran at the time," he said. "They were being used to receive and deliver similar sorts of messages. There was an interest in Tehran in engaging and talking."But the Bush administration was in no mood for conversation or grand political bargains, the former officials said. According to Leverett, who left government in mid-2003, the administration rejected the Iranian probe and instead sent a complaint to Swiss Ambassador Tim Guldimann, saying he had overstepped his role as an intermediary by passing it on in the first place.Critics, including the two former Bush administration officials, European diplomats, and policy experts, say the United States may have squandered an opportunity to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program by not talking with Tehran. According to both Leverett and Pillar, the administration's priority was to avoid negotiations with the regime, out of concern it would imply acceptance of its continuation in office. Since then, Iran's government has become even more conservative, making the prospect of further negotiations more problematic."No one at a senior level was willing to push Iran on diplomacy," said Leverett. "Was there at least a chance that we could have gotten something going? Yes, there was a chance."Little faith in change in IranThe State Department disputes that there was ever a prospect for credible direct negotiations with Iran. "The presumption that the regime in Iran is going to change its stripes is specious," said a department spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Was there a credible approach from the Iranian government with an offer that made any kind of sense? Never at any time ... "A White House spokesman declined to address the issues surrounding Iran's overtures in 2003. He said, however, Iran had "for years been deceiving the international community and now must live up to their responsibilities under the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and NPT [Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty)]."Since those overtures, U.S. relations with Iran have sharply deteriorated. Last June, Iranians elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad president, replacing the more moderate Mohammed Khatami, and the new government has resumed the enrichment of uranium. Next month, the confrontation moves to the UN Security Council, with the United States asserting that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and Iran asserting that the program is for peaceful purposes.The administration's reluctance to enter into new talks with Iran was displayed by the president's State of the Union address in January 2002, where he labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea members of an "axis of evil." The administration set the goal of establishing a reformist democracy in Iran to replace the mullahs as well as to roll back Tehran's nuclear program.Bush has now stepped up his campaign for reformist democracy in Iran. During his last State of the Union address, he appealed to the people of Iran to "win their own freedom" and promised "one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran." Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced an $85 million program to promote political change in Iran by subsidizing dissident groups and outside radio broadcasts.Regime isn't leaving soonU.S. intelligence experts, however, believe that the administration has been mistaken in its belief that the current regime in Iran is short-lived."The consensus analytic view was that there was a lot of dissatisfaction but that it didn't translate into a pre-revolutionary situation," said Pillar. "Iran doesn't have the appetite for making another revolution. I think there has probably been more faith among the policy-makers in the prospects of true regime change than most of the analysts believe."Leverett and others say the administration refused to pursue a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear program because it meant acknowledging a regime they viewed as fundamentally illegitimate. "They [the administration] believed that just a little pushing from us and it would be over," said the former Western diplomat. "They were wrong."
The man in charge of nuclear proliferation policy when the offer came in from Iran was John Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

Arguing the nuclear threat

Bolton, a hardline conservative who is currently U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, would not comment for this story. Testifying to Congress on June 4, 2003, Bolton argued that Iran could build "over 80 nuclear weapons" if it had access to a secure supply of nuclear fuel. That same month, the White House refused to rule out a military option in dealing with Iran after Iran failed to report "certain nuclear materials and activities" to the IAEA. Later that year, Bolton urged that Iran be brought before the UN Security Council for violating its commitments not to pursue nuclear weapons program.After the United States refused to speak directly with Tehran, major European powers decided to begin negotiations on their own. In October of 2003, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain visited Iran and won a promise from the regime to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for comprehensive talks. When the three European states probed Washington's interest in the negotiations the answer was not encouraging. "They were very skeptical," said one European Union diplomat. "You have to remember they were in a very ideological position at the time. They were not interested."European officials and the head of the IAEA believed that Washington had to lend its support for the negotiations to succeed. In January 2004, Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the IAEA, met Secretary of State Colin Powell to appeal for U.S. support, but there was no response. "He said over and over that negotiations were the only way forward and that it won't work unless the United States puts its weight behind them," said one Western diplomat working in Vienna. "They listened but that's all."Some experts saw Iran's desire to reach an agreement as a sign of strategic weakness. "In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Iranians were desperately afraid that they were next on the list and desperately trying to find a way to be accommodating to the U.S.," said Gary Saymore, a non-proliferation expert at the MacArthur foundation, an independent grant-making institution. "The suspension on uranium enrichment that the Europeans got came because Iran was afraid of the U.S. colossus next door.""What we took was exactly the wrong approach," said one U.S. military official with extensive knowledge of U.S. relations with Iran. "Our military had made the point to everyone in the region. If Iran is ready to come to the table, then you come to the table. Do it with distrust but get them to the table and get them engaged. We wasted an opportunity."That view also had currency in the higher reaches of the State Department, where officials feared that a policy of confrontation with Iran would provoke the regime into ramping up its nuclear program. "The question kept coming up in meetings 'Let's just say you go to the Security Council get everything you want,' Iran will probably still follow through with their program. Then what do you do?'" said Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff during Bush's first term in office. "Bolton would always say 'That's not my territory.'"A source close to Bolton said Iran's recent acceleration of its nuclear program proved that negotiations could not succeed. "Allowing the Europeans to negotiate was a train wreck waiting to happen," the source said after Iran announced it would restart uranium enrichment. "In many ways it is almost better that the Europeans didn't come up with some half-assed compromise that we would have had to reject. They saved us from themselves."The administration shifted its stance slightly last year. At a meeting with European leaders in Brussels on Feb. 21, 2005 Bush listened as German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac each made a case for Washington to support the European negotiations with Iran. Administration officials eventually agreed to support the European effort in public, and a short time afterwards, the United States began to offer incentives to Iran in the form of participation in the World Trade Organization and much needed spare parts for aircraft. The administration also signed onto a Russian backed proposal that would allow Iran to produce nuclear energy so long as it did not enrich uranium.Now experts fear Washington and Tehran are locked in a spiral of confrontation. Iran last week backed out of the talks with Moscow -- but yesterday agreed to resume them. It has announced it will withdraw from a voluntary program allowing unscheduled intrusive inspections. And it is once again enriching uranium. "The problem remains that the Iranians are less worried about Washington than they were before," said Saymore.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Iran leader faces Holocaust case

An Israeli lawyer, Ervin Shahar, says he has asked Germany to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with denying the Holocaust.
Mr Ahmadinejad was widely criticised when he said last year that the Holocaust was a "myth" and that Israel should be "wiped off the map".
Germany passed a law in 1993 forbidding Holocaust denial. It is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II.
Mr Shahar said he wanted the German federal prosecutors' office to take the issue before the constitutional court in the hope that international arrest warrants would be issued against Mr Ahmadinejad.
Correspondents say prosecutors will have to consider whether Germany has jurisdiction and whether President Ahmadinejad enjoys immunity.
International case
"I'm awaiting a response about whether they will file charges but I don't know how long it will take," Mr Shahar told the Reuters news agency.
"It doesn't take days but several months."
On Monday, British historian David Irving was found guilty in Austria of denying the Holocaust and sentenced to three years in prison.
He had pleaded guilty to the charge, based on a speech and interview he gave in Austria in 1989.
Although Mr Ahmadinejad did not deny the Holocaust on German soil, another law passed in 2005 permits the filing of international cases in German courts.
Mr Shahar hopes the case might result in international warrants for Mr Ahmadinejad's arrest, thus preventing the president from entering the US or Europe.
The lawyer believes Germany is the best country in which to file the suit, because it is the "most influential European state" and because the country is directly linked to the case.
The prosecutors' office in Karlsruhe has not yet commented.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Mullah’s-Eye View of the World

A Mullah’s-Eye View of the World
Iran is acting on its assessment of the West’s strength and resolve.
Michael Ledeen

Sometime in late November or early December, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gathered his top advisers for an overall strategic review. The atmosphere was highly charged, because Khamenei’s doctors have diagnosed a serious cancer, and do not expect the Supreme Leader to live much more than a year. A succession struggle is already under way, with the apparently unsinkable Hashemi Rafsanjani in the thick of it, even though Khamenei, and his increasingly powerful son Mushtaba, is opposed to the perennial candidate-for-whatever.
Despite this disquieting news, the overall tone of the conversation was upbeat, because the Iranians believe they see many positive developments, above all, the declaration that "it has been promised that by 8 April, we will be in a position to show the entire world that 'we are members of the club.'" This presumably refers to nuclear weapons. Against this cheery background, the assessment of the Iranian leaders continued:
The weakness of the Bush administration is notable. Recent public opinion polls show the country seriously divided, and the top Iranian experts on North America have concluded that the president is paralyzed, unable to make any tough decision (and hence unable to order an attack against Iran);
2006 is an election year, and even some Republicans are distancing themselves from Bush, weakening the White House even further;
Israel is facing the darkest moment in its history (remember that this conversation took place before Sharon’s stroke). Likud is divided, Netanyahu is openly against Sharon, and the Labor party has lost its old guard. No strong government is possible (and hence Israel is similarly unable to order an attack against Iran). Therefore this is a moment for Iran to take maximum advantage;
Iranian power and prestige is at an all-time high among the Palestinian terrorist groups, from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah, to secular, even Communist groups. Terrorists who in the past had rejected Iranian approaches now travel to Tehran for support;
The Syrians have given Iran final say over the activities of Sunni terrorist groups in their country;
Iran now exercises effective control over groups ranging from Hezbollah, Ansar al-Islam, al Qaeda, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Jaish-e-Mahdi, and Jaish-e-Huti (Yemen) to the Joint Shi’ite Army of Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and part of Saudi Arabia, as well as Islamic movements in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia;
In the four and a half months since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become president, he has brought the extremist group led by Mezbah Yazdi under control, and, notably, he has forced Syria to resist all pressure from the United States;
The Europeans are no longer necessary for the Iranian strategy, and can now be "thrown out of our game." They are in no position to do any damage because they are too busy fighting with one another;
Khamenei called for two urgent missions. The first was to do everything possible to drive up oil prices by an additional 30 percent by the first week in April. The second was to intensify the propaganda war against the West in the same period. He stressed that it was important to compel the United States to face at least three crises by the April 8.
In short, the Iranians at the highest levels of the regime believe they have good reason for behaving quite feisty, and if you look at the events that have taken place since then, you will see that the mullahs are acting consistently with the analysis presented to (and in part by) Khamenei. The propaganda war — lately and dramatically in the form of the cartoon crusades — has indeed been intensified. The Europeans have been systematically dissed, and more: their embassies in Tehran have been stoned, Iranian diplomats have insulted them with regularity, and the regime slapped a trade embargo on all goods coming from the infidel Europeans. When the French announced that the Iranian nuclear program was undoubtedly designed to produce weapons, Tehran demanded an apology. Above all, there is no longer any pretense of cooperation with the Big Three negotiators on the nuclear program.
This suggests that the mullahs do indeed believe they have acquired nuclear weapons, and there is no longer any need to play stalling games with the Germans, French, and Brits. Nor is there any reason to feign humanity in the treatment of their own people. The repression of any and all groups which might conceivably organize an anti-mullah revolution looks to reach the historic levels of the immediate post-revolutionary period, when hanging judges routinely ordered the execution of thousands of citizens for often-fabricated crimes. Of late, the regime has beaten, tortured, and incarcerated thousands of Tehran bus drivers, Bahais, Sufis, and Ahwaz Arabs, and they have even threatened the families of political prisoners, saying that the whole lot of dissidents will be killed if the U.N. votes for sanctions.
This brutal and open use of the mailed fist bespeaks utter contempt for the West; Khamenei & Co. do not think we will respond, do not fear Western action, and believe this is a historic movement for the advance of their vision of clerical fascism. But it also bespeaks a chilling recognition of their nemesis: the Iranian people. President Ahmadinejad recently canceled most foreign travel by regime officials, for example, which is not the sign of a confident mullahcracy; quite the contrary, in their heart of hearts, they know that they are walking a fragile tightrope, and their incessant preventive actions against normal Iranians look very much like Mickey Mouse in , racing frantically to stop an army of bucket-carrying brooms from drowning him.
Moreover, the runaway optimism (which in many clerical minds goes hand in hand with the conviction that the Shiite Messiah, the 12th Imam, is about to reappear, thereby ushering in the End of Days) is not as solidly grounded as the mullahs might wish. For starters, oil prices are headed south, not toward the 30-percent increase ordered by the supreme leader. And the analysis of the perceived “paralysis” of the United States is nothing more than a replay of the usual blunder committed by our enemies, who look at us and see fractious politics, widespread self-indulgence, and an unwillingness or inability to face up to real war. In this, as in so many other ways, the mullahs of the Islamic Republic are emulating failed tyrants, from the German Kaiser and Führer to the Italian Duce, the Iraqi dictator, and the Soviet Communist first secretaries, all of whom learned, to their ruin, that free societies are quite capable of turning on a dime and defending their interests and values with unanticipated ferocity.
And indeed, after years of dithering, we now have the first encouraging signs that this administration is inclined to support revolution in Iran. Secretary of State Rice, after her laudable reform of the Foreign Service, has now asked Congress for an additional $75 million to advance the cause of freedom in Iran. This is good news indeed, especially since there were hints in her testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that we have already begun supporting Iranian trade unions, and even training some of their leaders. To be sure, the bulk of the money — $50 million — will go to the bureaucratic, and thus far utterly uninspiring, group running radio and TV Farda for the State Department, and the profoundly disappointing and feckless National Endowment for Democracy and the Democratic and Republic Institutes, but at least some money is promised for independent Farsi language broadcasters. Even with these shortcomings, we should celebrate Rice’s embrace of the cause of Iranian freedom so concretely.
On the other hand, there is no reason for joy at the news that assistant secretary Steve Rademacher seems to have gratuitously and foolishly promised that we will not use military power against Iran’s nuclear facilities. There is every reason to leave such stratagems in the haze of uncertainty, even if — as I have long argued — you believe it would not be a good idea, at least at this moment. Such declarations will reinforce the mullahs’ conviction that they have nothing to fear from us, and encourage them to race ahead with their murderous actions.
Even the world at large is beginning to bestir itself. Wednesday was a day of support for the Iranian bus drivers all across the civilized world. The AFL-CIO, driven by Teamsters’ President James Hoffa, in tandem with Senator Rick Santorum, has been leading the charge, now joined by unions in France, Britain, Spain, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Bermuda. The appeasers in the Italian trade unions, like their opportunistic bosses, sat it out. Still, it’s an impressive list.
It’s a small and long overdue step forward, to be sure, but great journeys sometimes begin slowly and uncertainly. The great thing is that, after years of empty rhetoric, stalled internal debates, and the paralysis so dear to Khamenei’s heart, we have finally gotten started. Will it succeed? Do the tens of millions of Iranians who rightly hate their rulers have the stomach, the imagination, and the discipline to organize the downfall of the regime?
Nobody knows, perhaps not even the revolutionaries themselves. But America has moved, and when America moves, even gingerly, there will be ripples throughout Iran and throughout the region. The key imperative is that, now that we are in, we must persist and prevail. So far, so good: in the State of the Union the president spoke eloquently of our respect for the Iranian people and our determination to help them if they show the will and the capacity to act effectively. That was exactly the right note. And the secretary of State was similarly and appropriately modest in her rhetoric, speaking of our desire to support freedom — not announcing a national crusade, and not threatening dramatic action. It is for the Iranians to liberate their country. If they are willing to fight for freedom, we should stand with them.
Now, finally, they know we will. And the cry of "faster, please" must quickly go out to them.

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