Peanuts Diplomacy

Here we go again. Just as the UN Security Council was finally getting closer to adopting a tougher package of economic sanctions against Iran's illegal nuclear program, Tehran suddenly agrees to transfer to Turkey 2,645 pounds of low-enriched uranium in return for nuclear fuel rods for a Tehran's medical research reactor.

Excuse me for not falling over backwards to applaud Tehran's so-called last ditch magnanimity. The arrangement smacks of the "Peanuts" cartoon strip where Iran in the guise of Lucy yanks the football away from Charlie Brown as he is about to finally score a sanctions touchdown.

I've seen this comedy before.

Last October, the U.S. and its allies offered Tehran virtually the same deal in Geneva. Iran agreed to surrender temporarily half of its stockpile of low grade nuclear material to the IAEA, and diplomats broke out the champagne. What a waste of good bubbly. It took but a few days for Tehran to sabotage the very deal it had agreed to by lathering it up with conditions so laughable that rendered it meaningless.

Moreover, even if Iran lives up to its own deal (and that remains to be seen) and transfers to Turkey this amount of enriched fuel, it represents little more than 50% of Iran's declared nuclear stockpile. And what is it doing with the other 50%? Take one guess. You guessed correctly! Iran will continue to enrich its remaining stockpile outside the prying eyes of IAEA inspectors --leaving it more than enough to develop a nuclear weapon -- a proposition now substantiated by the IAEA.

No doubt as it buys more time to continue its illicit nuclear enrichment program, Tehran is betting that this latest ploy will derail the tougher pending UN sanctions against it. Its latest diplomatic gambit may indeed succeed courtesy of Brazil and Turkey -- two nations whose leaders have pretentions of global diplomatic grandeur even if it means aiding a felonious nation like Iran.

Don't be fooled! Swapping fuel for fuel rods is a circus side show.

Iran's latest subterfuge masks the fact that it still openly refuses to stop its uninspected nuclear enrichment program -- THE central issue on the table before the UN Security Council. And Turkey doesn't even have the nuclear fuel rods to fulfill this so-called swap agreement. So where are those fuel rods suppose to come from? The U.S., Russia and France -- the very nations that offered the same deal in October that Iran sabotaged. What was so wrong then about the very same deal that Iran is willing to accept today?

OK, despite being a skeptic (and who wouldn't be at this point) I am willing to be proven wrong. If this eleventh hour "breakthrough" heralds an ironclad commitment by Iran's ruling clique in the face of a tougher sanctions hammer to come clean and fulfill its international treaty obligations to abide by the NPT and UN Security Council resolutions, well then, "Hallelujah!"

And just in case I'll place a bottle of Champagne Philiponnat Clos de Goisses on ice.