The new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking to his parliament yesterday, links Iran's import of a range of goods from "certain" European countries to the dispute over his country's nuclear programme.
"They (ie the EU3) expect to intervene in Iran's domestic affairs and make Iran silent about important regional and international issues," he said. "This is cruel and unfair. Our nation will not tolerate such behaviour on the international scene."
Well, alright then.
The EU3 - UK, France and Germany - have got into a cruel cul-de-sac in their "negotiations" with the Iranian regime. A signal of this came when Chancellor Schroeder of Germany, in full election mode, took pains to say that Germany would not be party to a use of force against the wily imams - a sure sign of desperation in the face of stalled discussions, the more so as nobody, not even President Bush, had been advocating violence.
At the same time, more and more anti-war commentators are pointing to the benefits to Iran of Iraq's current constitutional difficulties. They ascribe an almost godlike level of cunning and effectiveness to Iran in successfully destabilising Iraq and forcing its government into a theocratic, anti-American mould. This may or may not be premature. But at any rate, the idea that the EU3 could ever have prevented Iran from developing enriched uranium, using threat-free diplomacy alone, seems ever more absurd and naive.
Link to EU Observer article:EUobserver.com