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The EU-3 of France, Germany and England continue to pursue an agreement with Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium. The goal of the EU-3 is to present a signed deal to the International Atomic Energy Agency to head off the need to take Iran before the U.N. Security Council for additional sanctions. Yet every time the EU-3 appears ready to get a verifiable agreement in place, Iran wiggles free.

Now, in the 11th hour, Iran insists that the agreement must be modified to allow the continued “research and development” of technology that could be used to make atomic weapons. This is consistent with an argument emerging from the American left to support these mad mullahs. Amazingly, the American left is beginning to argue that Iran, somehow as a logical conclusion of their sovereign rights, should be allowed to get a mere “screws turn away” from having a fully functional and deliverable nuclear weapon.

What does this mean? The American left is characteristically posturing to cave in to yet another enemy of America, this time Iran’s mad mullahs. Be prepared: We are going to hear even Democratic Party luminaries make the argument that America would be better off to follow with Iran the same failed path the IAEA took with North Korea.

That anyone would contemplate allowing the terror-supporting Iranian theocracy to have nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes is bizarre given the abundant evidence that the mad mullahs cannot be trusted. Iran has 40 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves – a plentiful and cheap energy reserve if all the ruling mullahs wanted was power for electricity.

How can the world simply ignore the obvious facts? The CIA in this week’s newly released “721 Report” makes the clear statement that the United States “remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program, in contradiction to its obligations as a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).” Iran is now known to have produced large quantities of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, a critical gas derived in the processing of yellow cake uranium that is then fed into centrifuges as the process of uranium enrichment to weapons grade continues.

Put simply, Iran has been lying for years.

Make no mistake about it – Iran will not sign any document that would give the IAEA unfettered inspections access or that would entail promising to stop uranium enrichment forever. The mad mullahs have made clear to the world their view that Iran is entitled to nuclear weapons. The diplomatic posturing going on right now is an elaborate subterfuge, designed to stalemate the international community into believing that Iran has agreed to stop enriching uranium. At best, Iran is buying time.

Iran will never agree not to make a nuclear weapon. Even Colin Powell’s recent comments strongly suggest that the U.S. intelligence community believes Iran has only a few remaining technical problems to solve before the mullahs can put a sufficiently miniaturized nuclear warhead on a Shahab-3 missile and launch it to Tel Aviv. If the Iranians do not have a sufficient quantity of weapons-grade enriched uranium today to make a bomb, they must be close. Otherwise, Colin Powell – a usual proponent of negotiation – would not be making threatening revelations.

This much heated-up international diplomacy clearly signals the potential of a coming military crisis – one the EU-3 countries are desperately trying to avoid with yet another Chamberlain-like international agreement that asks us to trust yet another set of dictators, even if they are dictators posing in religious cloth.

The Iranian mullahs must be disappointed John Kerry did not win the presidential election. Kerry had already announced in the first debate with George Bush that as president, he would go along with the EU-3 plan to provide Iran nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. Now the mullahs know they must continue to face a tougher opponent in George Bush. The signals from the second Bush administration are clear. While in transition, Bush has given the OK to fight the insurgents in Iraq. The deadline to elections in Iraq is holding, even if the election will not be perfect. Colin Powell is out at the State Department and the CIA is being purged of leftists and administration-haters.

After the inauguration, George Bush can be expected to turn his attention to Iran. The signals coming from the administration in transition are telegraphing that Bush has his eye on Iran and he is not likely to be fooled by IAEA agreements filled with loopholes and escape clauses. For George Bush to be convinced that Iran has abandoned nuclear weapons aspirations will take more than mere words or token actions.

President Bush is much more likely to watch what the Iranians do, especially in secret – not what they say in public – before an EU-3 and IAEA international audience inclined to give them the benefit of a doubt. The clock is ticking on Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the Iranians know it.

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