Ahmadinejad: Report a victory for Iran
A new U.S. intelligence review concluding Iran stopped developing an atomic weapons program in 2003 is a “declaration of victory” for Iran’s nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday.
Russia’s foreign minister, meanwhile, indicated that the U.S. report’s findings undermined Washington’s push for a new set of U.N. sanctions against Iran.
The U.S. intelligence report released Monday concluded that Iran had stopped its weapons program in late 2003 and shown no signs since of resuming it, representing a sharp turnaround from a previous intelligence assessment in 2005.
“This is a declaration of victory for the Iranian nation against the world powers over the nuclear issue,” Ahmadinejad told thousands of people during a visit to Ilam province in western Iran.
“This was a final shot to those who, in the past several years, spread a sense of threat and concern in the world through lies of nuclear weapons,” Ahmadinejad said, drawing celebratory whistles from the crowd.
But what happened in 2003?
17 March, 2003 – US President George W Bush gives Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war.
20 March, 2003 – American missiles hit targets in Baghdad, marking the start of a US-led campaign to topple Saddam Hussein.
In the following days US and British ground troops enter Iraq from the south.
9 April, 2003 – In Baghdad, a symbol of Saddam’s power tumbles.
14 December, 2003 – Saddam Hussein captured in Tikrit.
Almost anybody, living next door, would have thought very seriously about locking away their weapons program. Keep all the parts and pieces, though; things may change up the road a bit.
As for Ahmadinejad, he clearly likes it up there on the high wire, and he is undoubtedly positioning himself for his next election.
He was declaring victory for himself, and then generously sharing it with those who will, hopefully, return him to office in that next election.