OpinionIran in the World PressMaking up with the mullahs

Making up with the mullahs

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New York Post – Editorial: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made her most generous offer yet to the mad mullahs of Iran: Suspend your enrichment of uranium, halting a critical step in the development of nuclear weapons, and Washington is prepared to develop “a more normal relationship.” The New York Post

Editorial

January 26, 2008 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made her most generous offer yet to the mad mullahs of Iran: Suspend your enrichment of uranium, halting a critical step in the development of nuclear weapons, and Washington is prepared to develop “a more normal relationship.”

That’s it?

“If Iran would suspend its uranium-enrichment and -reprocessing activities – which is an international demand, not just an American one – then we could begin negotiations, and we could work over time to build a new, more normal relationship,” she told the World Economic Forum at Davos.

It was as conciliatory a note as the Bush administration has ever struck on Iran.

Clearly, achieving an end to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is of paramount importance in ensuring regional stability in the Middle East.

But is suspending uranium enrichment enough of a step to immediately offer the prospects of normalized relations with Tehran?

We think not.

Pursuit of nukes, after all, is just one of the ways in which Iran presents a danger to world peace.

Even with its nuclear-weapons program on hold (according to a recent National Intelligence Estimate), Iran continues to export terrorism via surrogates like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

And it continues to arm and supply the anti-American terrorist insurgency (or what’s left of it) in Iraq.

Iran, in short, is the single most destabilizing element in the world’s most dangerous region.

Surely, the mullahs in Tehran can’t be encouraged to think that they can get off the hook with a single gesture on their nuclear program.

To be sure, Rice in her remarks stressed that Washington has “real differences” with Iran on issues like supporting terrorism.

And we understand the administration’s eager hope for a major diplomatic breakthrough before the president leaves office – particularly when it comes to Iran, after having been forced to pull back from its previously confrontational approach.

But those “real differences” encompass far more than a currently inactive WMD program – even though that program remains a genuine threat, despite the interpretation that congressional Democrats have drawn from the recent NIE.

Iran and the United States can only resume a normal relationship – broken after Islamic fundamentalists toppled the shah in 1979 – when Iran itself no longer constitutes a real threat to world peace and America’s security interests.

But it will take more than a suspension of uranium enrichment for that to happen. Much more.

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