Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Doubling Down

Iran's Government Pins 'Bomb Me' Signs To The Backs Of Their Beige Windbreakers

From Alan Cowell in The Paper Of Record This morning:
LONDON — As tension grew in its nuclear dispute with the West, Iran was reported on Tuesday to have struck an increasingly bellicose tone, warning that it would take pre-emptive action against perceived foes if it felt its national interests were threatened...

Without mentioning Israel directly, Mohammed Hejazi, the deputy armed forces head, said on Tuesday: “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions,” Reuters reported. Divisions in Iran’s leadership make it difficult to interpret the government’s intentions, but the statement showed a new level of aggressiveness in Iran’s rhetoric.

The statement came a day after a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran on Monday for the second time in three weeks...

The inspectors did ask on Monday to see a military complex outside Tehran that is a suspected secret weapons-making location, Iranian radio said, according to The A.P... As the I.A.E.A. delegation left its headquarters in Vienna late Sunday, its leader, Herman Nackaerts, said the delegation wished to investigate “the possible military dimensions” that Tehran insists the program does not have and that the inspectors’ previous visit did nothing to resolve.

International tension has been rising steadily, as Iran claims significant technological advances in uranium enrichment and threatens retaliation against countries that pursue sanctions against it, including a boycott of its oil.