Why we should be worried about Iran

Asking why America should be concerned about the actions of Iran requires a careful look at events that highlight Iran's slow buildup of weapons, their disregard for international treaties as well as their outspoken hostility towards Western interests.

Iran's defiance of international treaties and their comments about American interests are detailed on the Reuters news service website:

  • June 2003 — IAEA issues its first report on Iran, saying Tehran has failed to comply with its Non—Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and Tehran's failure to report nuclear materials, facilities and activities is a "matter of serious concern."
  • Sept. 2003 — IAEA board sets Iran an Oct. 31 deadline to provide an exhaustive declaration of its nuclear activities. IAEA finds more highly enriched uranium (HEU) traces at a second site in Iran.
  • Oct. 2003 — Iran tells France, Britain and Germany it will suspend enrichment—related activities, but does not.
  • Iran provides what it says is a full declaration of its nuclear activities but does not include information on work on advanced P2 centrifuges, the machines that enrich uranium.
  • December 2003 — Iran signs a protocol allowing snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
  • January 2004 — Iran's deal with the EU's "big three" unravels after reports it has continued enrichment—related activities.
  • February 2004 — An IAEA report says Iran experimented with polonium—210, which can be used to trigger the chain reaction in a nuclear bomb. Iran has not explained the experiments.
  • Iran again agrees to suspend enrichment, but again does not.
  • June 2004 — An IAEA report says Iran imported parts for centrifuges and that it made "enquiries" for 4,000 magnets for P2 centrifuges, enough to equip 2,000 machines.
  • September 2004 — IAEA report says Iran has announced it will begin preparing a large amount of uranium for enrichment. IAEA board tells Iran to suspend the enrichment program immediately.
  • November 2004 — Iran promises the EU three it will suspend its enrichment program and invites IAEA to verify suspension, but then demands 20 centrifuges be exempt from the freeze.

  • These events alone would be enough to cause concern, but once coupled with information gathered from reports by the MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) covering comments made over the summer in an editorial by Iranian officials it can be said that just being 'concerned' might not be enough.  MEMRI shows that in the July 6, 2004 edition of Kayhan Iranian officials stated:

    "The entire Islamic Middle East is now a volatile and tangled trap, and will be set off by the smallest bit of silliness — and will reap many victims of the sinful adventurers... Indeed, the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of Hell that will burn to ashes everything that has been built.

    "Iran's counter—response is likely to be called 'sudden death' and 'the Angel of Death suddenly revealed.' That very day, those who resist [Iran] will be struck from directions they never expected. The heartbeat of the crisis is undoubtedly [dictated by] the hand of Iran."

    MEMRI's report  goes on to show that Iran is also involved in the recruitment and training of thousands of volunteers for suicide attacks against Western, European, and U.S. targets in Iraq, resuming long—rang missile projects which would be capable of reaching Europe and the U.S., and announced plans of using missiles to 'eliminate 'Anglo—Saxon' civilization through the use of missiles and suicide bombers.

    Where do we go from here?  As of Tuesday it seemed as though multilateral diplomacy may have a chance with Iran.  In an AP story White House press secretary Scott McClellan was quoted describing his confidence in the ability of European nations to bring about a peaceful resolution without the assistance of U.S. intervention.

    "When it comes to Iran, we are very supportive of the efforts by our European friends to get Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. And we stay in close contact with our European friends on their discussions and the progress that they have made ... That's the way we're approaching this issue," McClellan said.

    Can such outspoken defiance and hatred be tamed through diplomacy and treaties?  Will the U.N. enforce international treaties with Iran if it continues to break them? 

    The coming months will be the U.N.'s second chance, their test before America and the rest of the world.  It will be the U.N.'s time to prove its worth or expose its impotence.

    Mark Eichenlaub is a freelance writer in Chicago,IL and can be reached by email at ikez78@hotmail.com.

    Asking why America should be concerned about the actions of Iran requires a careful look at events that highlight Iran's slow buildup of weapons, their disregard for international treaties as well as their outspoken hostility towards Western interests.

    Iran's defiance of international treaties and their comments about American interests are detailed on the Reuters news service website:

  • June 2003 — IAEA issues its first report on Iran, saying Tehran has failed to comply with its Non—Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and Tehran's failure to report nuclear materials, facilities and activities is a "matter of serious concern."
  • Sept. 2003 — IAEA board sets Iran an Oct. 31 deadline to provide an exhaustive declaration of its nuclear activities. IAEA finds more highly enriched uranium (HEU) traces at a second site in Iran.
  • Oct. 2003 — Iran tells France, Britain and Germany it will suspend enrichment—related activities, but does not.
  • Iran provides what it says is a full declaration of its nuclear activities but does not include information on work on advanced P2 centrifuges, the machines that enrich uranium.
  • December 2003 — Iran signs a protocol allowing snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
  • January 2004 — Iran's deal with the EU's "big three" unravels after reports it has continued enrichment—related activities.
  • February 2004 — An IAEA report says Iran experimented with polonium—210, which can be used to trigger the chain reaction in a nuclear bomb. Iran has not explained the experiments.
  • Iran again agrees to suspend enrichment, but again does not.
  • June 2004 — An IAEA report says Iran imported parts for centrifuges and that it made "enquiries" for 4,000 magnets for P2 centrifuges, enough to equip 2,000 machines.
  • September 2004 — IAEA report says Iran has announced it will begin preparing a large amount of uranium for enrichment. IAEA board tells Iran to suspend the enrichment program immediately.
  • November 2004 — Iran promises the EU three it will suspend its enrichment program and invites IAEA to verify suspension, but then demands 20 centrifuges be exempt from the freeze.

  • These events alone would be enough to cause concern, but once coupled with information gathered from reports by the MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) covering comments made over the summer in an editorial by Iranian officials it can be said that just being 'concerned' might not be enough.  MEMRI shows that in the July 6, 2004 edition of Kayhan Iranian officials stated:

    "The entire Islamic Middle East is now a volatile and tangled trap, and will be set off by the smallest bit of silliness — and will reap many victims of the sinful adventurers... Indeed, the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of Hell that will burn to ashes everything that has been built.

    "Iran's counter—response is likely to be called 'sudden death' and 'the Angel of Death suddenly revealed.' That very day, those who resist [Iran] will be struck from directions they never expected. The heartbeat of the crisis is undoubtedly [dictated by] the hand of Iran."

    MEMRI's report  goes on to show that Iran is also involved in the recruitment and training of thousands of volunteers for suicide attacks against Western, European, and U.S. targets in Iraq, resuming long—rang missile projects which would be capable of reaching Europe and the U.S., and announced plans of using missiles to 'eliminate 'Anglo—Saxon' civilization through the use of missiles and suicide bombers.

    Where do we go from here?  As of Tuesday it seemed as though multilateral diplomacy may have a chance with Iran.  In an AP story White House press secretary Scott McClellan was quoted describing his confidence in the ability of European nations to bring about a peaceful resolution without the assistance of U.S. intervention.

    "When it comes to Iran, we are very supportive of the efforts by our European friends to get Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. And we stay in close contact with our European friends on their discussions and the progress that they have made ... That's the way we're approaching this issue," McClellan said.

    Can such outspoken defiance and hatred be tamed through diplomacy and treaties?  Will the U.N. enforce international treaties with Iran if it continues to break them? 

    The coming months will be the U.N.'s second chance, their test before America and the rest of the world.  It will be the U.N.'s time to prove its worth or expose its impotence.

    Mark Eichenlaub is a freelance writer in Chicago,IL and can be reached by email at ikez78@hotmail.com.