If anyone needed further evidence of Iran’s contempt for the negotiations over its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was happy to provide it yesterday. Speaking on the occasion of National Nuclear Technology Day (a holiday he created several years ago), Ahmadinejad declared that Iran was already a nuclear power and suggested that the world would do well to cooperate rather than cause problems.We hope that this will put an end to talk of a kinder, more moderate Ahmadinejad emerging.But more interesting than the substance of the bluster itself was the timing of the delivery. The New York Times details the dynamic as the talks broke down over the weekend:
The American official said the Iranians needed to “go back to Tehran and discuss with their government what they heard and the fact that we felt there was such a gulf that we wanted to stop and have these consultations before proceeding further.”Mr. Ahmadinejad did not display the intended reaction. He said that Iran had opened two uranium extraction mines in the central province of Yazd and a factory in the same area to manufacture yellowcake, a form of semi-refined uranium that can be processed into nuclear fuel. The president also announced that Iranian nuclear scientists had created five new medicines and a homemade industrial electron accelerator.
Ouch. It’s not exactly easy for officials to save face when the rebuke is so brazen and tactless.US diplomacy is having very little impact on the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil. The mess in East Asia continues to unsettle a volatile and vital region of the world. And as for the Middle East, war lies at the end of the road Iran is on. We are reduced to hoping that the leaders of these countries come to their senses. These cannot be welcome developments for a White House looking to cut defense spending and turn the national conversation away from foreign affairs.