Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Humiliation

The Iranians are rubbing the Europeans' noses in it.

THE man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic program.

In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Tehran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

He boasted that while talks were taking place in Tehran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant while convincing European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything'. The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.

What did Reagan say? Trust, but verify. The Europeans got it half right.