Turkey and Brazil are both nascent democracies that have overcome their own histories of military rule. For their leaders to embrace and strengthen an Iranian president who uses his army and police to crush and kill Iranian democrats — people seeking the same freedom of speech and political choice that Turks and Brazilians now enjoy — is shameful.
As frequent readers of this blog know, I don’t post rumors; this time, however, I’ll post on a rumor.
The rumor is that the Obama administration gave a wink-wink nod-nod to Lula’s trip in the hope that Lula and Erdogan would come back convincing the Iranians to end the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The Friedman article hints at this,
Sure, had Brazil and Turkey actually persuaded the Iranians to verifiably end their whole suspected nuclear weapons program, America would have endorsed it. But that is not what happened.
Iran today has about 4,850 pounds of low-enriched uranium. Under the May 17 deal, it has supposedly agreed to send some 2,640 pounds from its stockpile to Turkey for conversion into the type of nuclear fuel needed to power Tehran’s medical reactor — a fuel that cannot be used for a bomb. But that would still leave Iran with a roughly 2,200-pound uranium stockpile, which it still refuses to put under international inspection and is free to augment and continue to reprocess to the higher levels needed for a bomb. Experts say it would only take months for Iran to again amass sufficient quantity for a nuclear weapon.
Instead, Lula and Erdogan played right into the mullahs’ hands:
So what this deal really does is what Iran wanted it to do: weaken the global coalition to pressure Iran to open its nuclear facilities to U.N. inspectors, and, as a special bonus, legitimize Ahmadinejad on the anniversary of his crushing the Iranian democracy movement that was demanding a recount of Iran’s tainted June 2009 elections.
Friedman says he wants Iran to be a democracy. Good. But he also says, hey, let’s have the USA be China for a day!
Which one is it, Tom?
This will be the subject of today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern