Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's comment yesterday that "Iran's nuclear achievements have startled Western countries" shows how deluded he is. Since he's Iran's spokesman, it indicates that the entirety of Iran's government lives in a dream world, and their dream is a nightmare for everybody else:
"Salehi made the remarks during a joint press conference with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Tehran on Tuesday in response to the fact that certain Western countries had downplayed Iran's latest announcement about its nuclear progress.
During the press conference, Salehi said, 'Now that we have succeeded in producing the fuel, they (the Westerners) are disparaging it. And if it is a small achievement, why did they not help provide us with the fuel and set conditions?'"
Iran's only "achievement" thus far has been to copy what others have done, and they have taken longer to copy than it took the originators in the United States to develop and implement the U.S. nuclear program. Iran's leaders take great pride in their ability to stand on the shoulders of giants and mimic, but what they have actually done is little more than monkey see, monkey do in nuclear physics. If it were not for China, North Korea, Russia, and Pakistan, Iran would be no closer to nuclear weapons today than it was in 1979 when Islamist militants took control of the country as Maseh Zarif makes clear in his article for AEI Iran Tracker titled "Technology Sources for Iran's Nuclear Program."
Mr. Salehi fails to grasp the real reason that rational thinkers, not just Westerners, are concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions. We know that Iran's leaders plan to "wipe Israel off the map." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said so explicitly. We also know that Iran wants hegemony over the Middle East and North Africa. That's why we can't permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. We've seen how Iranian Islamists brutalize their own people, and there is no reason to suspect that they won't try to subjugate and enslave people throughout the region as well. That we must not allow.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.