The race for nukes is on. 11:58 AM, May 19, 2010 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
The State Department was reportedly supportive of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s visit to Tehran last weekend. An unnamed State Department official was quoted as saying the trip represented “perhaps the last big shot at engagement" in the conflict over the Iranian nuclear program. But one can well wonder whose side Lula is on.
The CIA shutters a program designed to track the al Qaeda threat emanating from Iranian soil.4:45 PM, May 13, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
As Steve Hayes noted earlier, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman of the Associated Press have published an intriguing account of America’s attempts to track al Qaeda operatives living in Iran. Al Qaeda’s network in Iran is one of the most underreported aspects of the international terror network’s operations. Apuzzo and Goldman deserve credit for digging into a story that relatively few journalists have explored.
The CIA reportedly had a program named RIGOR that tracked al Qaeda’s presence on the mullahs’ soil, but that program has now been cancelled. Why? We do not know. The AP says the program generated “mixed” results, but there is concern that “Iran is loosening its grip on the terror group so it can replenish its ranks, former and current US intelligence officials say.”
How tight was that grip in the first place? In my view, it was not very tight at all.
Unknown unknowns.9:42 PM, May 12, 2010 • By MICHAEL ANTON
In 1988, disgruntled former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan revealed that since the 1981 attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life, Nancy Reagan had consulted a San Francisco astrologer for advice on scheduling the president. This went well beyond merely affecting the start times of meetings. As anyone who has worked for or covered a White House knows, where the president goes, who he meets with, and when, are ultimately matters of policy. The revelation understandably caused a firestorm. How could anyone possibly base policy on something so frivolous?
A very modest proposal...keep him out.5:32 PM, May 3, 2010 • By MICHAEL ANTON
Officially, at least, Washington has not given up on trying to stop the development of the Iranian bomb. But, you’d hardly know that from what our officials actually do, no matter what they may say.
Take, for instance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s latest trip to New York as president of America’s number one enemy, Iran. Like all his sojourns to our shores, this one was conducted under UN auspices.
The price is high.10:27 AM, May 3, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
At National Review Online, Michael Anton has the definitive analysis of the costs of containing Iran. There is, of course, much debate concerning what to do about Iran and the regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons. The policy proposals most frequently debated by wonks are: (1) sanctions, (2) military strikes, (3) working with, or at least supporting, the Iranian people in their efforts to overthrow the regime, (4) containment, and (5) do nothing. These are not mutually exclusive options, of course, but each comes with its own primary tactic and should come with a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.
10:03 PM, Apr 28, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Eli Lake reports:
The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in "co-operating countries," a move that would likely exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.
Iran rebukes Obama's nuclear overture.1:00 AM, Apr 27, 2010 • By MASEH ZARIF
President Obama noted at the beginning of April that the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)—along with the recent nuclear security summit, next month’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference and the pursuit of additional UNSC sanctions—is part of a message that “the international community is serious about Iran facing consequences if it doesn’t change its behavior.” The updated NPR, among other things, limits the scenarios under which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons; violators of the NPT are viewed as exceptional cases and receive no immunity from U.S. nuclear strikes meant to deter conventional or chemical and biological attacks. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said: “if there is a message for Iran and North Korea [in the NPR], it is that if you're going to play by the rules, if you're going to join the international community, then we will undertake certain obligations to you, and that's covered in the NPR. But if you're not going to play by the rules, if you're going to be a proliferator, then all options are on the table in terms of how we deal with you.” It is unlikely that these messages—intended to “allow Iran to make a different kind of calculation,” according to President Obama—have thus far made the regime feel isolated or persuaded it to change its behavior, based on the responses and actions of the regime.
How comforting. 1:10 PM, Apr 14, 2010 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
"Iran is not expected to be capable of producing nuclear weapons for at least a year, maybe more, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday,” reports Reuters, covering him from aboard a U.S. military aircraft en route to South America:
Asked about reported comments that Iran might be able to join the nuclear club in months, Gates said: "I don't believe it."
"I think that most estimates that I've seen, haven't changed since the last time we talked about it, which is probably at least a year, and maybe more," Gates told reporters.
A year is not a long time. What are we doing in response?
10:14 AM, Feb 25, 2010 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
Because we need agrément from the man who is Ahmadinejad’s closest ally in the world, who stands by grinning as the Iranian madman threatens the “demise and annihilation” of the “Zionist regime,” and who himself calls America’s position on Iran (such as it is) “a new situation of colonialism in the region.”
The centrifuges continue to spin.9:08 AM, Feb 19, 2010 • By JAMIE FLY
In the days preceding the thirty first anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei threatened that Iran would deliver a “punch” to the West. Most observers assumed that this meant that Iran would launch several missiles, perhaps photoshopping in a few more for added effect, and call it a day. But February 11, 2010 may go down in history as the day Iran made its real intentions for its nuclear program known publicly, while the rest of the world exerted a collective yawn.
Engagement with the right movement. 10:30 AM, Feb 18, 2010 • By EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH
Reza Pahlavi learned an important lesson from Vaclav Havel: The Cold War opposition only thought they might be successful when Ronald Reagan called Russia an evil empire and triumphantly commanded Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Pahlavi hopes Barack Obama speaks as definitively against to the Iranian regime -- he eagerly waits for the president of the United States to say, "Mr. Khomeini, tear down this wall!”
The Iranian regime says Neda Soltan's death was fake, then real, and caused by protesters.11:09 AM, Jan 7, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
According to Radio Farda's Golnaz Esfandiari, "Iranian state television has produced a documentary suggesting the shooting death of a young woman whose final moments were captured on video during postelection protests was a fake." What's more, Neda Agha Soltan is accused of spying on behalf of the United States and Great Britain.