Iran’s choice

It took awhile, but the Bush administration has wisely joined Russia and China in making an offer to Iran so valuable that Iran’s rulers can reject it only at the price of confessing to the world that they are lying about the peaceful purpose of their nuclear programme. The permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are pledging to provide Iran with the wherewithal to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses. Iran would receive light-water reactors, up-to-date technology for nuclear power plants, and a choice of two sources of nuclear fuel. In return, Iran is being asked to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities, cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors, and enter into negotiations on a long-term agreement assuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not meant for military purposes. This gesture by the six nations reflects a keen understanding of the need to dispense with every Iranian excuse for refusing to suspend enrichment and comply with its obligations under the NPT.

If Iran’s rulers choose to reject the benefits of this offer, they will deserve the punitive sanctions that the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, described to them in Tehran this week. They will deserve the wrath of an Iranian public that attributes its hardships to the corruption and incompetence of Iran’s theocratic regime. — The Boston Globe