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The Iran Plan: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

With the Security Council’s deadline for Iran’s compliance expiring Friday, the sense of urgency can be felt all the way from the UN building at Turtle Bay in New York to the deli across the street. Its range of influence extends nowhere near Tehran, as the regime remains defiant with little difference from any other point in the last three years of heightened international attention on the Iranian Nuclear Crisis. Yet there are no shortages of headlines and reporting, reports that could easily be date stamped from any point since at least August 2005 without confusing news consumers.

Iran will ignore UN Security Council demands, Ahmadinejad said once more in defiance. “If international institutions respect our legitimate rights, we will respect their decisions. However, we will not regard these decisions as valid if they are intended to deny us our rights,’’ he said.

Ahmadinejad added, “Our scientists have mastered this technology with their own brains, their own might and their own hands.” And, of course, Russian reactor construction, Chinese laser enrichment equipment and construction, Pakistani centrifuges and bomb designs and North Korean missile technology and bunker building skills.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened America with global terrorism, again. “The Americans should know that if they launch an assault against Islamic Iran, their interests in every possible part of the world will be harmed,” Khamenei warned. As well, internally, most of the Iranian clergy is still angry over women going to soccer matches because it ‘violates Islamic law for a woman to look at the body of a male stranger.’

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw ruled out military strikes against Iran and its nuclear facilities, again. Straw offered the recycled quote, “This is not Iraq. Nobody is talking about military action.” Someone obviously forgot to tell Khamnenei.

Knight-Ridder reminds us that Russia still remains a negotiating conduit between Iran and the West. Yet, someone should check with Vladimir Putin, because while Iran restates its refusal to go along with any decision that curtails its program, Russia still maintains that it opposes any sanctions on Iran. Russia is not between Iran and the West. Russia is behind Iran and opposing the West. Still.

China again says there is still time for diplomacy, offering that “[u]nder the current situation, there is still room to seek an appropriate settlement to the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiation.” Perhaps the Chinese calendar begins this year when the deadline expires. There is, of course, no telling when the UN calendar begins.

In the United States, the Congress is considering even tighter unilateral sanctions against Iran. Again. Of course, knocking the $75 Million plan to aid pro-democracy groups in Iran down to $56 Million does not ring consistent with this. Perhaps if Iran had snail darters or spotted owls instead of those pesky nuclear designs the fully-funded (yet still under-funded) plan would have survived intact.

Yet, amidst all of the recycled rhetoric and news stories that could pass with practically any date stamp, at least one Western diplomat ‘gets it’. “I have spent several years now worried about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, but obviously now we also see the effect of the financing by the Iranian government of terrorist organizations and their effort to disrupt what we think should be progress toward a sovereign and democratic Lebanon,” US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said.

The Iranian threat of international terrorism - stated bluntly, boldly and proudly by their own Supreme Leader - is at the epicenter of the crisis. For even if the regime were prevented from attaining nuclear weapons, that very real and deadly threat remains from the world’s terrorism kingpin. Solving the nuclear crisis does not solve the problem.

Ending the rule of the regime that supports more terrorist groups than some nations have embassies does, however, solve that deadly threat posed by Ahmadinejad, Khamenei & Company. And there is no easy or bloodless way to achieve it. It can be debated about whose blood will be shed, but shed it will be. The leaders of Iran are not going to negotiate disarming Hizballah, discontinued funding to Hamas and Islamic Jihad (et al) or their own regime change.

The Iranian Plan is simple: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

The UN Plan is also simple: When the shampoo bottle goes empty, buy a new one.

A new bottle of shampoo will emerge as soon as Friday’s deadline comes and goes. The IAEA might very well turn into a pumpkin. That would be news.