News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for August 27th, 2010:
- Reuters: According to Olli Heinonen, the former chief of U.N. nuclear inspection, Iran has stockpiles of enough low-enriched uranium for as many as two nuclear weapons but will not build a weapon at this time. “In theory, it is enough to make one or two nuclear arms. But to reach the final step, when one only has just enough material for two weapons, does not make sense,” Heinonen said in an interview carried out just before he left office earlier this month.
- The Washington Post: The American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin writes that missing from the list of U.S. consulates in Iraq is any plan for permanent U.S. representation in Najaf. Rubin argues that the importance of Najaf in the Shiite world and the high number of Iranian visitors means, “[t]here is no better place outside Iran for diplomats to interact with ordinary Iranians across socioeconomic divides because everyone, rich or poor, wants to make a trip once prohibited by war and politics.” If the U.S. fails to establish an official presence in Najaf, says Rubin, Iranian influence in the area will rise and, “America’s enemies will define our legacy.”
- Sic Semper Tyrannis: Colonel Pat Lang theorizes that Michael Rubin might be angling for an appointment as the first U.S. consul to Najaf.
- The Weekly Standard blog: Michael Weiss asks why Obama has failed to do more to help Shiva Nazar Ahari, an Iranian human rights advocate. She has been arrested several times and will stand trial on September 4th for disseminating “anti-regime propaganda” and participating in an “act contrary to national security” through her attendance at gatherings in November and December. Weiss characterizes Ahari, who may face the death penalty, as “clearly pro-West and philo-American.” Weiss’s calls for Obama to publicly show solidarity with Ahari contradicts the advice of Akbar Ganji, the celebrated Iranian journalist and former political prisoner, who warned in May that explicit U.S. government support for the Green Movement would hurt the movement’s legitimacy in Iran.