Iran Test-Fires Long-Range Missile, Tehran Continues Diplomatic Game
Iran tested long range missiles that can reach Israel and US targets in the Middle East last night. Read the story, from the Jerusalem Post, here.
At the same time, Iran's government is following up on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent "overtures" toward initiating dialogue with Washington in the face of looming crisis. The Washington Post has the story here.
How sincere are these overtures? Not very, I'm afraid. The Post quotes Iranian analyst Saeed Laylaz thusly: "You know, two months ago nobody would believe that [Iranian Supreme Guide] Mr. Khamenei and Mr. Ahmadinejad together would be trying to get George W. Bush to begin negotiations. This is a sign of changing strategy. They realize the situation is dangerous and they should not waste time, that they should reach out." Don't believe it.
The Post also claims that US intelligence agents understand these moves as "major overtures" while the Bush Administration sees them as "tactical moves." The Post's implicit editorial disdain not withstanding, Bush's people are right on this. Sage has been documenting the mixed signals and conflicting statements flowing from Tehran for the better part of month. These developments, like Ahmadinejad's letter and like his call for IAEA involvement, betray another series of Iranian ploys and bids for time. Iran's nuclear enrichment team must be getting awfully close to weaponized uranium. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert speaks of Iran's nuclear time table in terms of months, and the desperate smoke and mirrors employed by Tehran only corroborate this claim. Overtures? Detente? Diplomatic opportunities? Not even close. US analysts (or mainstream media hacks) with pipe dreams of normalization apart from Iran's immediate, unconditional acceptance of the European plan should take a course or two in political theory and realpolitik.