Amid the Bush administration's bluster of threats and heavy-handed tactics against Iran, it's heartening to hear that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei is making headway with Iran and its nuclear program.
The Financial Times reported last week that, "The point that Mr. ElBaradei's critics miss is that he is judiciously achieving the goals that they seemingly desire -- the disarmament of the Islamic Republic." Of course, that doesn't mean the issues with Iran's nuclear program have been resolved just yet. Far from it. But what Bush and his allies in Israel don't want us to recognize is that the IAEA's latest report indicates the "work plan" designed to investigate the suspicious portions of Iran's nuclear program is working and has managed to force Iran to cease activities that could be tied to building nuclear weapons. Indeed, the Financial Times story also figures that "the best means of diminishing the hard-liners is for the U.S. and its European allies to offer Iran a chance for a resumed relationship."
So far, all our government has done is to try to intimidate Iran with warships and hyperbolic language. What does it use to support its claims? A laptop smuggled from Iran in 2004. But two years later, The Washington Post reported that the laptop's authenticity couldn't be proved and that "Analysts cannot completely rule out the possibility that internal opponents of the Iranian leadership could have forged them to implicate the government, or that the documents were planted by Tehran itself to convince the West that its program remains at an immature stage." And there's some talk that German intelligence indicates that the laptop came from two Iranian resistance groups, the Mujahedeen e Khalq and the National Council of Resistance in Iran.
Rounds of progressively tougher sanctions or worse, war, will likely do little but destroy Iran (as they did Iraq) and radicalize a hungry and frustrated population.
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