ByKenneth R.Timmerman
|March 9, 2006

Iran now has the materialsto make up to ten nuclear weapons, the U.S. envoy to theInternational Atomic Energy Agency told a closed-door meeting inVienna yesterday. That stunning statement, by U.S. ambassador GregoryL. Schulte, not only turned heads; it changed minds.

It was also a conservative statement. In fact, nuclear experts tellme, if Iran had used the equipment the IAEA knows Iran imported fromthe nuclear black market of Pakistani nuclear dealer Dr. A.Q. Khan,it could have produced enough weapons-grade uranium for betweentwenty to twenty-five bombs even as the IAEA was inspecting Iran'sdeclared nuclear sites. And some sources believe Iran has purchasedactual weapons from Ukraine and North Korea recently on the blackmarket.

Schulte's closed-doorsummary of Iran's latest violations of its Nonproliferation Treatycommitments contained three bombshells:

This story is finallycoming to New York, thanks to Condoleeza Rice and her top diplomats.Through muscle diplomacy, Condi & Co. have succeeded intightening the noose on Iran.

In meetings in Washington on Tuesday, and in Vienna on Wednesday,Rice and Schulte successfully blocked a last-ditch effort by IAEASecretary General Mohammad ElBaradei to pull Iran's nuclear chestnutsout of the fire.

ElBaradei has been a strong defender of Iran's "rights" under theNonproliferation Treaty (NPT), despite repeated objections by theU.S., France, Britain and others that Iran has violated its treatyobligations and therefore has no rights to nuclear technology underthe NPT.

ElBaradei's efforts should be an international scandal, but they havegone widely ignored in the liberal media. In his latest confidentialreport to the IAEA board, on February 27, ElBaradei detailed no fewerthan eight major violations by Iran of its treaty obligations,including the discovery by IAEA inspectors of damning documentsrelating to nuclear weapons work. Some IAEA questions had been left"unanswered" by Iran for three years.

Despite this mountain of damning evidence, however, ElBaradei wastelling reporters as late as Monday that the nuclear crisis with Irancould be "solved" in a matter of days or a week.

Rice began the turnaround in closed-door meetings on Tuesday withRussian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington. Russia had beenengaged in sham negotiations with Iran for several months in aneffort to stave off international action to shut down Iran's nuclearprograms.

Emerging from that closed-door session, Lavrov swept the much-leakedRussian proposal off the table. "There is no compromise, new Russianproposal," he said flatly.

Then in Vienna, ElBaradei received a phone call from a Westerndiplomat, who told him bluntly that he should stick to IAEAresolutions, including the February 4 resolution to report Iran tothe UN Security Council.. Kicking the can down the road "only playsinto the hands of the Iranians," the diplomat said.

Now that there was no more Russian rabbit he could pull from his hat,ElBaradei backed down. That left Tehran's leaders facing a realshowdown with hard deadlines - for the first time.

So with Iran's case finally headed to New York, the mullahs resortedto blustery threats.

"The United States has the power to cause harm and pain," Iran's IAEAdelegation said in a statement released yesterday. "But the UnitedStates is also susceptible to harm and pain. So if that is the paththat the U.S. wishes to choose, let the ball roll."

Just how serious is this latest Iranian threat? Should Americans beworried, or --well, laughing? Does the Islamic Republic of Iran haveserious military capabilities that could do damage to a nationwielding the world's most devastating and precise military machine?Or is this just bluster from a desperate coterie of turbanedtyrants?

ABC News reporter Anne Compton pounced - not on Iran - but on VicePresident Dick Cheney for having caused the Iranian threat. It wasall because of Cheney's statement on Tuesday that Iran would face"meaningful consequences" if it developed nuclear weapons.

It's hard to qualify such twisted logic from the media. Should Iranface no consequences for developing nuclear weapons? PerhapsAmericans be applaud Iran's efforts? Or perhaps we should offer tounilaterally stand down the B-2 bomber fleet at Whiteman AF base inMissouri?

Last week, I obtained Iran's naval battle plan from a former Iranianintelligence officer who defected to the West. The plan, drawn up bythe Strategic Studies Center of the Iranian Navy, NDAJA, includes theuse of bottom-tethered mines, purchased from China and Russia, whichmany U.S. naval analysts believe could destroy U.S. aircraftcarriers.

The plan describes in detail how Iran will close the Strait ofHormuz, thus blocking an estimated 20% of the world's daily oilsupplies, using submarines, missiles, coastal artillery, andthousands of small boats that will launch "swarming" attacks on U.S.warships.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have practiced “swarming”attacks on U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz for several years,using six or more 20-foot speed boats equipped with rocket launchersand other weapons.

But the NDAJA battle plan adds a new twist: one of the speed boats inthe swarm will be manned by a suicide bomber, who will use thedistraction of the other boats to ram into the side of a U.S. ship.(For details of the Iranian battle plan, click

In Tehran yesterday, some 2000 women took to the streets onInternational Women's Day, calling on the regime to recognize basichuman rights. They wanted simple things, such as an end to thepractice of child marriage, authorized under the Islamic Republic'sconstitution, or the practice of "vijeh" - temporary "marriages" thatare certified by clerics acting as low-level pimps.

For their efforts, hundreds of these brave women and their malesupporters were beaten by regime agents, and at least sixty womenwere arrested.

Now imagine this blustering, brutal, and crude regime armed withnuclear weapons.

Will Mohammad ElBaradei ever get it?

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