Friday, June 23, 2006

Iran Weakening?

Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy notices signs that Iran's opposition to nuclear negotiation may be weakening, despite the over-the-top rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

Jerusalem, Israel -- Former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy told NewsMax in an exclusive interview in Jerusalem that he is seeing signs the leadership in Iran may be weakening in its opposition to the Western offer of nuclear negotiations.

Despite repeated claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran will "never give up" its uranium enrichment program, Halevy said that Iran's supreme leader and his entourage have been measuring the economic and strategic damage that would result from serious international sanctions on Iran.

"They are beginning to realize that the array of sanctions and other measures that will be imposed on them if they refuse poses a formidable threat to them," Halevy said.

While Ahmadinejad is clearly the most visible and vocal of the Iranian leadership, Halevy notes the decision is not his alone:

It's not just in Ahmadinejad's hands. It's in the hands of the leadership. He's part of that, but he doesn't control it. It depends on how the leadership assesses the threats pointed at them if they don't accept the offer of negotiations.

While I certainly hope this is true, I don't see any evidence that Ahmadinejad is the only psycho in the scenario. If they're all as crazy as he is, we're looking a moot point square in the face.

There is also the very real possibility that the Iranians are stalling in the hope that they reach the point of no return and produce an operational nuclear weapon before negotiations can take place. That is a bargaining tool we can't afford for them to have, and the evidence
suggests they may be very close.

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