A 'Good-Cop, Bad-Cop' Approach on IranBy DAVID E. SANGER
Published: November 21, 2004
ANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 20 - It took the bluntest-talking member of the Bush administration - Richard L. Armitage, who is leaving his post as deputy secretary of state - to explain the strategy of suddenly increasing the heat on Iran's nuclear program.
Interviewed on Al Jazeera, the Arab-language television network, on Friday, Mr. Armitage argued that it made sense for Europe to offer incentives to Iran to give up its program while President Bush continues to take a hard line.
"My view would be that the incentives of the Europeans only work against the backdrop of the United States being strong and firm on this issue," he said. "In the vernacular, it's kind of a good-cop bad-cop arrangement. If it works, we'll all have been successful."
That may explain why Iran, which is nowhere near the Pacific Ocean, became a repeated subject of conversation on Saturday as President Bush arrived at his first post-election summit meeting, the annual gathering of leaders of Asian nations and countries from Chile to Canada whose borders touch the Pacific.
Mr. Bush has been known to pursue his own agenda at these meetings. He used the 2001 gathering in Shanghai, for example, to organize the first responses to the Sept. 11 attacks.
And since Wednesday, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell arrived here for a meeting of foreign ministers, the administration has used this summit mmeting to reinforce its tough stance on Iran - though its exact strategy is still a bit of a mystery.
Mr. Powell told reporters on the way here that he had seen information that Iran was trying to modify its missile fleet so it could launch small nuclear warheads - even though, by all estimates, Iran is still a few years away from producing its first nuclear weapon.
Almost immediately, Mr. Powell took criticism for his comment, some from inside the administration. The intelligence is apparently based on a single source, whose reliability is unclear.
To Mr. Powell's critics, it was a throwback to his presentation to the United States on Feb. 5, 2003 about Iraq's weapons, a presentation he came to regret.
But he defended his comments during a television interview here on Friday, as did a State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli.
"Don't just focus on a uranium enrichment program, on a nuclear plant here or a nuclear plant there," Mr. Ereli said. "Look at the totality of the picture. And the picture is you've got undeclared nuclear activity, deliberate misinformation on nuclear activity, development of delivery systems and other technical research that, added all up, paints a very troubling picture."
Mr. Bush tried to add to that picture on Saturday, seizing on a report, attributed to diplomats who interact with the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is speeding ahead in producing uranium hexafluoride, a gas that can be turned into bomb fuel. Although Iran's uranium-enrichment program was frozen under the agreement with Europe that was announced Monday, Iran has said it will not halt until Dec. 22.
By itself, this report on uranium hexafluoride proves little. Iran is within its legal rights to produce the gas, which can be used to make fuel for nuclear power plants.
In the end, Mr. Bush may not be the Iranians' main worry. While the president has made it clear he thinks that diplomacy, not military action, is the solution, the Israelis have been increasingly clear to administration officials that at some point they may feel forced to take action against Iran's facilities, before an Iranian project turns into a nuclear weapon that can reach Iran's neighbors.
France, Germany, and now Britain have proven to be strategic enemies of the US by signing this deal. The countries that we fought to defend and defeat in the last century have signed our death warrant with this deal.
We cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. This means we HAVE to go to war against Iran. The Mullahs have made it no secret: The US is their enemy and so is Israel.
Our defense of our own national interests will bring us in direct opposition to a former European allies, strategically and economically.
This is not a simple or easily handled situation, and proves that Europe is ignoring American power to create gain for themselves, power for themselves as the EU.