Commentary Magazine


Iran’s Nuclear “Moderate”

With the press all aflutter about the possibility of “reform” and “change” in Iran as a result of its presidential elections, Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois (and a naval reserve officer), provides a useful corrective with a “Dear Colleague” letter he has just sent around the House. He makes the point about how close Iran is to producing nuclear weapons, citing reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Just as importantly, he points out that even if Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the supposed “reformer,” wins the election, little is likely to change with regard to Iran’s  nuclear program. The key points:

On April 27, 2009, Mr. Mousavi told Der Spiegel, “We will not abandon the great achievements of Iranian scientists. I too will not suspend uranium enrichment.” Der Spiegel asked if he would at least consider the outsourcing of uranium enrichment, as proposed by Russia. Mr. Mousavi responded simply, “No.”

On April 13, 2009, Mr. Mousavi told the Financial Times, “No one in Iran would accept suspension. Progress in nuclear technology and its peaceful use is the right of all countries and nations. This is what we have painfully achieved with our own efforts. No one will retreat.”

On April 6, 2009, according to the Associated Press, Mr. Mousavi said, “We have to have the technology,” adding that “the consequences of giving up the country’s nuclear program would be ‘irreparable’ and that the Iranian people support the nuclear program.”

On March 11, 2009, the Washington Post quoted Mr. Mousavi as saying, “The nuclear technology is one of the examples of the achievements of our youth.”

In any case, even if Moussavi wanted to stop the nuclear program, he couldn’t. As Elliott Abrams points out in this New York Times op-ed, “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s defeat would probably be welcomed abroad as a sign that Iran is moving away from his policies, but Iran’s policies aren’t his — they are dictated by Ayatollah Khamenei and his supporters in the Revolutionary Guard and Basij paramilitary.”

So please let’s put a moratorium on talk about Iranian moderates. We’ve heard it all before.

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