AnalysisCunning Iran wins again // By Ben Frankel

Published 20 May 2010

Last weekend the leaders of Brazil, Turkey, and Iran reached an agreement which is similar to the one the IAEA offered Iran last October; Iran would ship to another country 1,200 kg of low-enriched uranium, and in return would receive nuclear fuel for its research reactor; without a complete and verifiable stop to Iran’s aggressive enrichment activities, especially a stop to its effort to enrich uranium to 20 percent, the IAEA proposal would have achieved, and last weekend’s deal will achieve, only one thing: merely delay the inevitable — Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons — and not even delay it by much (months, not years); to suggest otherwise is to whistle past the graveyard

The Iranian are either smart, lucky, or both. They have been following their plan to develop nuclear weapons without wavering and without detours — and each time it appeared as if the international community would take action which would make Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons prohibitively costly, events conspired to deflect such action.

—-In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq claiming Saddam had “reconstituted” his nuclear weapons program. There were no nuclear weapons in Iraq and no program to reconstitute them. The preoccupation with Iraq, a country that did not have nuclear weapons, diverted the Bush administration’s attention and resources from two countries that were assiduously working on developing them — North Korea and Iran. While the United States was busy trying to stabilize the situation in Iraq, North Korea has tested two nuclear weapons and Iran perfected its uranium-enrichment technology.

—-Questions raised about the credibility and quality of U.S. intelligence as a result of how this intelligence was used in the run-up to the Iraqi war made it more difficult for the United States to persuade other nations when it came to intelligence about the state of the Iranian nuclear weapons — especially since the manner in which the Bush administration treated other nation’s misgiving about whether or not the Iraqi venture was justified did not help engender much good will toward, or willingness to cooperate with, future U.S. efforts such as isolating Iran