Emboldened by certainty that the US and Israel had given up on attacking its nuclear program, Iran’s atomic energy chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani felt free to heap abuse on the International Atomic Energy Agency. Addressing the IAEA’s annual meeting in Vienna Saturday, Sept. 17, the Iranian official accused the watchdog of a cynical approach and mismanagement, being influenced by “certain states” and infiltration by “terrorists and saboteurs.
The Iranian official bald-facedly turned charges that Iran is a major sponsor of terrorism world wide against its accusers in the West, bolstered further by the row between the Obama administration and Israel over whether or not to go to war against Iran. Saturday, the Iranian media highlighted the US President Barack Obama’s rebuff of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over “red lines” for Iran – encouraging news for Iran’s leaders.
He was further encouraged to take liberties by the propitiatory offer by the IAEA director Yukiya Amano to “intensify dialogue” with Iran despite the lack of progress so far in clarifying concerns about its nuclear program. And Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, was more than ready to meet Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Istanbul, again Tuesday, Sept. 18, for an effort to restart nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran – even though Tehran had systematically blocked progress in the last rounds.
Iran’s leaders must have felt they were completely out of the woods when they heard US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice comment to CNN Sunday night: “They do not have a nuclear weapon. Our shared intelligence assessments are that there is still a considerable time and space before they will have a nuclear weapon should they make the decision to go for that.”