Iran seems to be adopting the Green Eggs and Ham approach to inspections: It would not like them/here or there/it would not like them/anywhere. Yesterday, U.S. officials called on Iran to divert the Shahed, the cargo ship currently headed to Yemen, to Djibouti, where the United Nations is coordinating aid for Yemen, so that its cargo could be inspected. But to no avail. The ship, which is being escorted by Iranian navy vessels, and which has at least one U.S. and one German activist on board, announced that it will sail past the Bab al-Mandeb strait on Thursday morning, proceeding to the Red Sea and on to the Yemeni port of Hodaida. The German activist told reporters via email from aboard the ship that “Any neutral institution’s inspection is highly welcome, since it will prove the Iranian Red Crescent is abiding with regulations to humanitarian aid. War parties’ inspections will be clearly rejected.” Saudi Arabia, which is leading a coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and which is enforcing a UN-approved embargo on the country, has not yet commented on the Iranian aid ship.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader appeared to draw a strong line under what is considered to be a key sticking point in its ongoing nuclear negotiations: that nuclear inspectors get access to nuclear scientists. “We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. “I will not let foreigners talk to our scientists and to interrogate our dear children … who brought us this extensive (nuclear) knowledge.” The deadline for a deal is a little more than a month away.
And so on two vital fronts, Iran is digging in on inspections. It would not like them on a boat. It does not care how Congress votes. It will not have them in its forts. It will not have them in its ports.
And what if—despite Sam’s, er, the Administration’s fondest hopes—Iran never agrees to try its eggs?