Monday, May 25, 2009
Iran rejects West-proposed freeze of nuclear program
News from Tehran that Iran has rejected a proposal by Western nations to freeze its nuclear program was, presumably, not a surprise to anyone except, perhaps, U.S. President Barak Obama. Obama has made diplomatic engagement with Iran one of the hallmarks of his early foreign policy, even after decades of mutual mistrust, and the Western allies are looking for a way to convince Tehran to stop pursuing nuclear weaponry short of war. But it is a risky proposition, given the less-than-peaceful rhetoric emanating from Tehran, Washington and Jerusalem. True, the West was only offering the usual inducements -- an end to UN financial sanctions, international acceptance and full participation in the rulers' club -- things that have repeatedly failed to convince Iran to stop behaving like an outlaw nation. But Iran has not always behaved like a rational country since the 1979 revolution that toppled the U.S.-imposed Shah and brought Islamic rulers to power. Iran's conservative president, Dr. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, offered to debate Obama on world politics at the United Nations but ruled out any further talks on the nuclear issue, according to the Reuters international news service, after the United States, Russia, China, England, France and Germany invited Iran fto talks on the subject. "Our talks will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else," Ahmadinejad said Monday at a news conference. "The nuclear issue is a finished issue for us." Ahmadinejad said Iran was pursuing peaceful nuclear energy, not weaponry, and was opposed in principle to "the production, expansion and the use of weapons of mass destruction," Reuters said. So, why is Iran so afraid to join the civilized world?