AIPAC getting a bit cranky
- AIPAC raps US handling of Iran nukes
Nathan Guttman, THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 2, 2005
As the US administration is calling on the world to increase pressure
on Iran, the pro-Israeli lobby American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) is voicing rare criticism against the
administration's dealing with Iran's nuclear problem.
In a statement published in Washington Wednesday, AIPAC slammed the US
administration for agreeing not to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to
the UN Security Council during last week's meeting of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors.
"We disagree with these decisions and are concerned that these efforts
will facilitate Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, hampering the
diplomatic effort to stop Iran before it is too late. This poses a
severe danger to the United States and our allies, and puts America
and our interests at risk," AIPAC's statement said.
It is extremely unusual for the pro-Israel lobby to openly confront
the administration's policy, though it is not uncommon for the
organization to lobby behind the scenes in an attempt to change US
policy on issues concerning Israel.
The reason behind the public announcement is the frustration in the
pro-Israel camp in the US from the administration's willingness to
allow another round of diplomatic Russian negotiations with Iran
before bringing the referral to the UN to a vote at the IAEA.
"Last week's decision allowed Iran to win a critical round in its game
of cat and mouse with the international community," the AIPAC
The lobby claims that the US was wrong in not using the majority it
has in the IAEA to push for a UN referral and that the
administration's agreement to back the Russian proposal was a mistake.
The Russians have suggested that Iran is allowed to convert uranium,
but insist that the process be done outside Iran and under
supervision. This is seen in the pro-Israeli circles in the US as an
unnecessary concession to Iran and as a prize given to Teheran after
breaking the Paris agreement.
The US has agreed to give the Russian proposal a chance before pushing
for a UN referral, mainly due to the American wish to see a wide
consensus in the IAEA in favor of referring Iran to the Security Council.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns lashed
out at the Iranian regime Wednesday and called for a strict isolation
of Iran because of its nuclear program, support of terror and poor
human rights record.
"President Ahmadinejad is digging a hole for himself and he appears
determined to keep digging," Burns said at a speech in the Johns
Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
Burns said it was time for the international community to put more
pressure on Iran, to make clear to the Iranian leadership that there
was a price they had to pay for pursuing the path of nuclear
development and backing terror.
Yet Burns refrained from directly addressing the possibility of
military action against Iran, either by the US or Israel, and said
that the administration is focusing on intense diplomatic efforts.
In his speech, Burns also revealed that Iran is holding information
for casting and machining enriched uranium metal into hemispheres,
"information which clearly applies only to nuclear weapons," according
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