Continuing with my conversation with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad, my Los Angeles Daily News column today focuses on the Iranian question and the fallout from the NIE:
“The fact still remains that Iran is blithely in violation of the Security Council resolutions on its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, and uranium can be used for malignant purposes as well as benign energy production.
‘We must get ready to rule the world,’ Ahmadinejad said last year. ‘…The Islamic government in Iran is the prerequisite for a worldwide Islamic state.’
And in that quest, Ahmadinejad has gotten cozy with other rogue, would-be totalitarian world rulers, like meetings with neo-Marxist regimes in Latin America that puts Iranian interests a little too close to the border of the “Great Satan” for comfort.
‘We know that the Middle East for us is geopolitically the most difficult and the most important region,’ Khalilzad said. ‘In Iran, of course, there’s the sanction threat because it wants to dominate the region, … because of its policies in Iraq and Afghanistan that we talked about, because of its policies in Lebanon, its support for Hamas in Gaza and … its opposition to the peace process, its opposition to Israel’s existence, support for extremists and sometimes terrorist groups. Iran poses a threat in that theater.’
The ambassador said Iran, Venezuela and Russia - a veto-wielder at the Security Council - currently share some common rhetorical ground.
‘But at the same time, as you say, they have these economic relations and military relationship in terms of supplying weapons, and we have been obviously engaging the Russians very intensely to get them to reduce that positive engagement and to use their influence to get Iran to suspend its nuclear program,’ Khalilzad said. …”