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Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is on a well-publicized tour to France, trying to convince the world that a deal with the European Union will permit the mullahs to retain their nuclear program, simply for a promise not to develop nuclear weapons.

Photo opportunities with French President Jacques Chiraq show handshakes and smiling faces. Khatami in his black turban, expensive mullah robes, with his precisely trimmed beard and neat thin-rim eyeglasses looked quite the respectable diplomat, ready to address UNESCO, to be followed by a diplomatic stop-off in Rome to attend the pope’s funeral. Iran flooded the news wires with optimistic reports that a deal with the European Union would set a new framework, reinterpreting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for years to come.

What’s going on? First the pro-mullah lobby worldwide is spending millions to pump out positive spin. In the fine print, Khatami insists Iran has a right to enrich uranium, part of an assumed entitlement as a nation to pursue the complete nuclear fuel cycle. What’s wrong with this? Why not allow Iran to have a few centrifuges in operation, maybe 50 – some, but not enough to produce enriched uranium for bombs?

That’s the rub. If Iran is permitted to have a few centrifuges going, that’s exactly the kind of loophole that’s big enough to drive an ayatollah through. Can the world’s surveillance satellites determine precisely if the number of centrifuges in operation are 50, or 55? How about 5,000? We can almost hear the lying mullahs explaining to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors, “Oh, you mean those centrifuges? We thought you knew we had those, too. Those are the other 50 we are permitted to have.”

Khatemi even had the gall (or maybe that should be that “Gaul”) to tell the world that he lamented there was so much terror in the world. Maybe Khatemi should explain the preamble of Iran’s constitution. The preamble calls for an expansion of the Islamic revolution throughout the world, a virtual declaration of war against the United States and Israel. Has the world forgotten that Iran created and funds Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terror organization that pays the families of suicide bombers to send their loved ones to homicidal death in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?

The point is simple. If Iran renounces or deplores terrorism, then let’s hear Khatemi call for Hezbollah to disband. If Iran does not intend to pursue nuclear weapons, then let’s see the mullahs follow the path of South Africa. Destroy the massive centrifuge farms and the heavy water plant, whose only real purpose is to produce weapons-grade uranium and plutonium. If Iran does not intend to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, then get rid of the Shahab-3 missiles and return to the United Nations the 12 nuclear-capable cruise missiles the mullahs bought on the black market from the Ukraine.

Khatemi’s trip to France and Italy would be a joke, except the world’s liberal press is playing it all up, as if the mullahs were a legitimate government. If the mullahs have their way, they will rewrite the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to justify the supposed right of any and every nation to pursue the full nuclear fuel cycle, all the way to one step short of making a bomb. Doesn’t anyone remember that the NPT was written to prevent nuclear proliferation, not to set the conditions where some 100 or more countries might have the ability to produce a nuclear weapon?

Iran wants to be given the green light to go one “screw’s turn short” of making a bomb. The mullahs probably will convince the European Union that this makes sense. Why not? The mullahs have some $200 million a day in oil profits to put into public relations and their extensive nuclear technology industries. The French have never been averse to being in business with the mullahs, no matter how many sanctions the United States imposes.

The only hope that the mullahs will fail rests with President Bush. He will have to hold firm to his determination that nations which induce fear in their own populations cannot be trusted. The only reason the mullahs continue to talk about being attacked is that the president continues to insist that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon. The military option, as the president has reminded the world, has not been taken off the table.

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