Lieberman Talks Sense on Iran
12:14 PM, Feb 11, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
This weekend, Senator Lieberman spoke at the Wehrkunde Security Conference in Munich--otherwise known as Davos for hawks--and delivered a tough speech on Iran, criticizing the confusion caused by the NIE and challenging the world to adopt a set of bold new sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Some key quotes.
On the sanctions and the threat of war with Iran:
On the NIE:
Lieberman also issued a none-too-subtle criticism of Mohamed El Baradei, the Director-General of the IAEA, who was also on the panel with him. El Baradei has attempted to reduce the problem with Iran to a set of questions about its past nuclear work, which--once resolved through an IAEA "work plan"--will mean that Iran can once again be treated as a member of the international community in good standing, with the right--as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)--to enrich uranium. As Lieberman points out, however, the problem the international community has with Iran--and the reason that the UN Security Council has ordered it to suspend its uranium enrichment activities--is much, much deeper.
Of course, as a matter of international law, all signatories to the NPT bear the same burdens and obligations. But as a matter of common sense, the track record of a regime matters enormously in evaluating its nuclear intentions and its nuclear activities. Put more bluntly, a track record of deception and denying information to the IAEA and the UN is not one the world can afford to ignore. Until Iran restores international confidence that its program is peaceful, the international community is justified in demanding that Iran suspend its activities. Restoring confidence will take more than answering questions. It will require a sustained pattern of conduct that reassures other countries that Iran is not secretly embarked on a nuclear weapons program. That is why I think Chancellor Merkel got it exactly right when she said last year, "The world does not have to prove to Iran that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Iran must convince the world that it does not want the bomb."