Iran earlier this week accepted a deal to ship its uranium to Turkey for enrichment, seemingly ensuring that the Islamic Republic could not enrich it to weapons grade. At its core, this is the deal the international community proposed – and Iran rejected – last year to assuage Western fears while allowing Iran nuclear independence. Iran’s acceptance is meant to put to rest concerns that its goal is to attain nuclear weapons rather than just nuclear energy.
We don’t buy it.
As honest as Turkey may have been in the negotiations that led to this deal, Iran has given us no reason to trust it and every reason to believe that this agreement is nothing more than a cover for it to continue working in secret.
We have witnessed Iran’s government respond harshly to protests over election results. We have seen protestors beaten and jailed. This is a regime that does not care about its people, investing in foreign terrorist organizations instead of needed domestic programs. The revelation last year of the secret nuclear facility at Qom raises a red flag. Iran has already hidden one nuclear station from the world; who is to say that it is not hiding more?
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have shown no sign that they intend to end their meddling in other parts of the Middle East or end their support for regional terrorism. They have shown that they do not respect their neighbors or even their own people.
So the question then is why agree to Turkey’s deal?
It buys Iran time. By agreeing to Turkey’s proposal, Iran appears flexible without giving in to the United States. In our view, the Iranian leadership believes as long as it keeps the West focused on negotiations, it can continue its nuclear work unabated.
U.S. and Israeli officials have rightfully expressed skepticism about Iran’s acceptance of this deal and we hope that they will keep up pressure for more sanctions against the regime. A government that has acted so callously toward its own people and its neighbors cannot be trusted with the means to make nuclear weapons.