Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Khamenei Hails Ahmadinejad For "Nuclear Success"

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decided to make his feelings clear today about Iran's President Ahmadinejad and Iran's nuclear weapons program, in a speech today:

"One of the examples of achievements in last 29 years (since the Islamic revolution) is the nuclear issue," Khamenei told Iran's elite clerical body the Assembly of Experts, in comments broadcast on state television.

"Here the Iranian nation has rightfully and justly reached a great success and a remarkable achievement.....the personal role of the president and his resistance in the nuclear case is very clear."

"Those people who used to say Iran's nuclear activity must be dismantled are now saying we are ready to accept your advances, on condition that it will not continue indefinitely," he said, adding that this was achieved through "perseverance".

This was a little dose of reality for those people who've been insisting that Ahmadinejad was out of step with the regime in some way. And the statement above about the west trying to make a deal to accept current Iranian progress was a sly dig at Germany and some of the Europeans who put a proposition on the table to allow Iran to continue it's nuclear research in exchange for discontinuing any nuclear weapons research.

It was also a direct response to documents just presented to the IAEA and UN Security Council showing that Iran has been continuing its quest for nuclear weapons. The mullahs are denouncing them as forgeries. Not that it matters. Iran is pushing ahead regardless. To paraphrasee Ahmadinejad, the UN can issue sanctions for a hundred years and it won't mean squat.

To underline this, Khamanei had a few things to say about the coming March 18th `elections' to Iran's majlis ( parliament), according to al-Reuters:

On the election, Khamenei described efforts by the "enemy", usually a reference to Washington and its allies, "to divide politicians into extremists and moderates" in a bid to influence the March 14 vote but he said such efforts would fail.

"The enemy ... has announced clearly one should increase the pressure on Iran so moderates ... come to power in the election," he said. "The vast majority of people and officials believe in the principles of the system and revolution."

This is a direct bid to strengthen and solidify support behind Ahmadinejad and the hardliners.

Speaking of which, the head of Israel's military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin appeared before the Knesset Security Committee today and said that in his most generous estimate, Iran should have a nuclear weapon by 2010 - if not before.

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