Russia, France Put Pressure On Iran On Nuclear Arms
First, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared in Vienna that Moscow will only host Iran's uranium enrichment program (as an alternative to the Iranians doing it themselves) if Tehran agrees to re-impose an indefinite freeze on enrichment at home.
In Paris, meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Philipppe Douste-Blazy said directly that Iran's nuclear program is a cover for clandestine military activity.
"No civil nuclear program can explain the Iranian nuclear program," the French minister said. "It is a clandestine military nuclear program. The international community has sent a very firm message telling the Iranians to return to reason and suspend all nuclear activity and the enrichment and conversion of uranium, but they aren't listening to us."
What has become evident in recent weeks is that the other big powers, notably Russia and China, have adjusted their position closer to the American one re the Iranians.
Meanwhile, Iran gives contrary signals. One day, it seems more reasonable, the next not so. There is every reason to believe Iran is being deliberately duplicitous. No one believes the Iranians because the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly found it was trying to keep secrets about what it was doing to develop atomic arms. Just today, it was revealed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's spiritual advisor had issued a fatwa saying it was entirely permissible under religious law to use nuclear weapons.
The Iranians, by the way, have been putting pressure on the French in the cartoon controversy, associating the Danish cartoons somehow with the French. This after French President Jacques Chirac made the remark that France does not rule out responding to atomic terrorism by using its own nuclear arms.
This is only the beginning of a long test between Iran and the big powers. But at least the Bush Administration has a fair chance to gaining the support it needs to keep Iran in line. The rest of the world powers are beginning to wake up to the dangers of Iranian extremism.
Iran, meanwhile, goes from nukes to silliness. Today, there's a report that Danish pastries in the Iranian capital have been renamed and are now being sold under the name, "roses of the Prophet Muhammad." I'm not sure I would be rushing out to buy any.