by Andrew Campbell
This article continues the study and implications of the critical role of Iranian deception modalities1 in Iranian-Shi’ite political discourse, especially in relation to the 20-year clandestine development of Iran’s nuclear programme.Taqiyya (religiously-sanctioned deception or dissimulation to conceal one’s true intentions and beliefs), kitman (deception) and khod’eh (trickery or claiming one’s true position by half-truths rather than outright lies or deception) are deception techniques inherent in Iranian statecraft and nuclear negotiations with the Europeans and the United States.
Taarof is a form of deception through diversion of meaning from the subject or issue under discussion, which may be playful in some Iranian domestic contexts, but in the context of nuclear discussions may have serious implications.2
Taarof: Diversion and Ambiguity of Response
Concerning taarof, Nasser Hadian, a Tehran-based political scientist, says: “You have to guess if people are sincere, you are never sure.”3 Kian Tajbakhsh, a Tehran-based social scientist, notes:4
“Speech has a different function [in Iran] than it does in the West. In the West, 80 percent of language is denotative. In Iran 80 percent is connotative. … In the West, ‘yes’ generally means yes. In Iran, ‘yes’ can mean yes, but it often means maybe or no. … It makes for bad political discourse. In political discourse people don’t know what to trust.”
Iranians claim that foreign invasions have taught the them “the value of hiding their true face”.5 Fatima Farideh Nejat, a prominent and original researcher on taarof notes: “The locution of exchanges of taarof can change depending on who offers taarof and whether the offer is sincere (samimaneh) or deceitful (chaploosaneh), even manipulative.”6 Muhammad Sanati, an Iranian social psychologist, notes: “When you tell lies, it can save your life. Then you can see the problem of language in this country.”7
Western diplomats claim that taarof offers Iranian negotiators an advantage when dealing with more studied and formal skills of other countries. Iranians are used to concealing their feelings and are unsure in dealing with each other and especially non-Iranians. This forms the basis of their attachments to deception.
Taarof — also known as indirection or expediency — affects public and political discourse, but it is a deception modality in the skilled hands of Iranian negotiators. In Iran, taarof is also a knowingly false promise based on a false premise. The matter may be trivial and in relation to everyday patterns of incivility or “irony” or even extend to humorous participation if taarof becomes a game. Failure of a politician to deliver a campaign promise is regarded as taarof and not as a lie. Taarof has been compared to a verbal dance between a giver and recipient until one defers to settle the matter and, as such, is a “language game” commonly used for negotiations to gain advantage.
Ayatollah Khomeini: the Power of Khod’eh (Trickery and Deceit)
The deception technique khod’eh, used by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to overthrow Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, in 1979, demonstrates the centrality and continuity of deception in Iranian history. Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was steeped in khod’eh traditions. Taheri points out:8
“During his stay at Neauphle-le–Château, Khomeini used all the traditional techniques of Shi’ite leadership. These included khod’eh, which means tricking an enemy into a misjudgement of one’s true position. Khomeini did not tell direct lies but used many half-truths based on well established khod’eh tactics. Later, in 1984, he admitted to having used khod’eh in order to trick the enemies of Islam…
“Khomeini actively encouraged such illusions in accordance with another Shi’ite tactic, that of tanfih, which means weakening the positions of potential rivals or enemies. Khod’eh, taqiyya and tanfih were also used along with kitman (dissimulation) in opening negotiations with the Americans. On the basis of khod’eh, the Ayatollah never even announced the word ‘Republic’ until after he won power.”
Khomeini used taqiyya for impression-management for Western audiences to support his “united front” campaign against the Shah, including even the operational assets of the Moscow-controlled Tudeh (Communist) Party to overthrow the Shah’s regime. After gaining power, he approved the physical elimination of many of his former supporters.9
Khomeini’s mastery of taqiyya and khod’eh was most evident in the years prior to the overthrow of the Shah. From his residence, rented for him by exiled supporters in France in the village of Neauphle-le-Château, he described the United States as the “Great Satan” in hundreds of thousands of underground cassettes, pamphlets and speeches which were distributed by returning pilgrims who had visited Khomeini and through clandestine channels of the pro-Moscow Tudeh Party in Iran.10
During his four months’ residence in Paris, Khomeini gave 132 radio interviews, television and press interviews and issued 50 declarations which were later published in Iran. Direct contact with Iran was established and two telephone lines and telexes were quickly established. Khomeini was in nearly hourly contact with his field commander in Iran, Ayatollah Morteza Motahari.
According to Taheri’s account, “Khomeini kept quiet about his radical views on social and legal issues; he put himself forward as a moderate man”, emphasising that the new regime would not change Iran’s social structure. He also reassured Western concerns that an Islamic government would not threaten oil supplies. Taheri summarises: “For example, he promised female equality and full press freedom which were, however, qualified with phrases such as ‘in accordance with Islam’ or ‘on the basis of the Koran’.”11
Khomeini did not publicly discuss his plan to establish the velayat-e-faghih (the principle of theocratic rule or the rule of the jurist) prior to the revolution of 1979. As Khomeini later told Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr: “In Paris, I found it expedient to say certain things. In Iran, I find it expedient to refute what I said, and I do so unreservedly.”12
According to a prominent Iranian political activist, Ayatollah Sahabi: “… Ayatollah Khomeini did not view it advisable to raise the question of velayat-e-faghih at that point during the course of the revolution.” During his stay in Paris, Khomeini’s entourage restricted his slogans to “independence, freedom and Islamic government”. Khomeini told his entourage “to change the slogan to the Islamic Republic, because Islamic government had a certain context and form that were not advisable then”.13
In 1999, Ezatollah Sahabi, a close colleague of the Ayatollah in Paris, recalled him crossing out the words “Islamic government” from a text submitted to him and writing “Islamic Republic”.14
Khomeini’s aides dialled directly to Tehran to spread his revolutionary message and he read his sermons into cassette tapes. William Shawcross points out:15
“His [Khomeini’s] pronouncements were published and broadcast almost daily, and his young, Western-educated aides acted as brilliant propagandists. The BBC, in particular, gave full coverage to his views. By the end of 1978, the ayatollah had come to be seen, by many of these Western intellectuals interested in Iran, as a saintly old man who was determined to establish a far more just, democratic, and ‘spiritual’ regime than that run by the cruel, corrupt, and despotic Shah.”
Shawcross also noted:16
“Khomeini had been able brilliantly to dissemble his true ambitions, beneath lofty, almost Delphic generalizations. By suggesting that he shared everyone’s hopes and beliefs, he had managed to form the broadest possible coalition.”
“Khomeini encouraged the fostering of democratic illusions from his supporters in accordance with the Shia tactic of tanfih — taking the sting out of one’s potential enemies — and the tactic of taqiyya — which means misleading everyone about one’s true beliefs.”
On returning to Iran, the victorious Khomeini, on 19 August 1979, in a special message to the Assembly for the final preparation of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, discussed the centrality of the rule of the jurist or theocracy (concerning which he had written as early as 1970 in his work Islamic Government):18
“[T]he constitution and other laws in this republic must be one hundred percent based on Islam. … Islamic theologians present in this assembly must clearly express their view if they see an article in the draft of the constitution or a suggestion that deviates from Islam. They must not be afraid of the brawl by gharbzadeh-ha (those under influence of estern culture) writers and journalists.”
Significantly, few had studied Khomeini’s Islamic Government, although he ordered a new translation for publication in Iran.19 A noted professor of Middle East studies who read Khomeini’s defence of Islamic government and the “rule of the jurist”, or theocratic rle, warned the CIA and forwarded translated passages of the book to CIA Headquarters, but the CIA could not confirm the author of the book, although the U.S. Congressional Library had the text. In late 1978, the CIA finally funded a translation of the book, from the Arabic edition.20
As Taheri notes: “The fact that few of the middle class and leftist leaders who sided with Khomeini took time to read his books … was to cost them dearly. Many paid for that omission with their lives.”21
President Ahmadinejad: Continuing Khomeini’s Policies
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmad-inejad regards himself as continuing Khomeini’s mission of winning the clash of civilisations between Islam, as represented by Iran, and the West, particularly the United States and Israel.
In 1997, 1,000 copies of a pirated translation of Samuel P. Huntington’s celebrated book The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order22 were forwarded to Tehran. An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military truck collected 500 copies of the 1,000-print run. Among the Iranian leaders who received a copy was Yahya Safavi, a general and commander of the Guards. Another copy was received by the current President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.23 In 2002, Osama bin Laden replied to a question referring to the “clash of civilizations”, affirming: “No doubt about that. The book [the Koran] mentions this clearly.”24
During an official visit to Indonesia in May 2006, Ahmadinejad spoke of his ambition to unite and lead the Muslim world in a “clash of civilisations” against the “infidel”,25 consonant with Iranian leadership of Shi’ism, which is the indisputable right of the Iranian nation.”26
During his visit to Indonesia in 2006, Ahmadinejad referred to his favoured theme: the “historic war” between Islam and the West which “dates back hundreds of years….”27 In May, 2005 he declared: “The message of the [Islamic] revolution is global and is not restricted to a specific place or time. It is a human message, and it will move forward. Have no doubt … Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”28
The “Clash of Civilisations” as Iranian State Doctrine
In August 2005, President Ahmadinejad presented a 7,000-word manifesto to the Islamic majlis (parliament) which detailed his Government’s “short- and long-term” plans. The document states that the region is heading for a “clash of civilizations” in which Iran represents Islam, and the U.S. carries the banner of a West that has forgotten God. Ahmadinejad presented the driving force behind Iran’s policy as the belief that the decadent U.S., which is “in its last throes”, is an ofuli (sunset) power, destined to be superseded by the tolu’ee (sunrise) power of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the developing multipolar world, other “sunset” powers include the European Union and other “sunrise” powers include China and India. But the most dynamic power will be Iran, the “core power” around which all Muslim powers will coalesce. Furthermore, he stressed, Iran is prepared to develop its nuclear programme regardless of the concerns of the “outside world”.29 Further, his policy is: “a jihad to reshape the world and ensure Islam’s universal dominance”.30
Dr Hassan Abbasi has emerged under Ahmadinejad with many roles in the Iranian national security apparatus: adviser in the Office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, theoretician of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ intelligence and head of the Centre for Doctrinal Strategic Studies. He is popularly referred to as “Iran’s Dr Kissinger” and is a leader of the newly-formed “Brigade of the Shahids of the Global Islamic Awakening”. Most significantly, he is a key advisor to President Ahmadinejad.
In June 2004, addressing the Gathering of Seekers of Martyrdom in Tehran, Abbasi stated:31
“If it is possible to cast terror into the hearts and lives of infidels … and the enemies of Islam, which is in fact possible, then this terror is holy terror. … Until we destroy liberal democracy, there will be no possibility for the Appearance (of the 12th Shi’ite Imam [see details below]).
“[H]istory is nothing except human (endeavor) to sacrifice this body for God. Martyrdom has a road called Jihad. … Jihad is more important than prayer, than pilgrimage, than fasting.”
Abbasi’s Strategy of “Waiting Bush Out”
In June 2006, Abbasi addressed the increasingly popular strategy of “waiting Bush out”. Addressing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Baseej Mustafadin (Mobilisation of the Dispossessed) officers, he referred to his “dream” of a recurring image of U.S. helicopters carrying the last of the “fleeing Americans” forced from the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) “by the Army of Mohamed”.
Abbasi’s believes the U.S. cannot wage protracted warfare as it lacks one of Iran’s greatest assets – patience. He says: “The Americans are impatient. At the first sight of a setback, they run away. We, however, know how to be patient. We have been weaving carpets for thousands of years.”32
Given the expected demise of the Bush Administration in the next presidential elections, the U.S. will revert to its policy of “running away”, which will leave Afghanistan, Iraq and the whole of the Middle East “to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.”33 Abbasi has said: “America knows well that attacking Iran would endanger its interests and severely increase the price of oil. We are able to endanger both, U.S. security and its economic interests anywhere in the world.”34
Iranian negotiators regard negotiations like a game of chess. Discussions of nuclear-related issues were recently described by Ali Larijani, secretary of the Iranian Security Council and chief nuclear negotiator, as “diplomatic chess”, a game at which Iran clearly excels.35 These views were clearly evident in the negotiating style of former Iranian nuclear negotiators, Hassan Rowhani and Hosein Musavain in 2005.
Gaining Time to Complete Iranian Nuclear Facilities
In September 2005, Hassan Rowhani, the Iranian politician and cleric who headed the Iranian talks with the EU3 (the United Kingdom, France and Germany), informed the Iranian Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution in closed session of his strategy of deception of the Europeans:36
“When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Tehran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan [Esfahan] site. There was plenty of work to be done to complete the site and finish the work there. In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan. … From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, ‘The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.’ The Europeans used to respond, ‘We trust them’.”
On 25 February 2005, Rowhani expressed satisfaction at the state of negotiations which he noted approvingly were advancing at a “very slow pace”.37
In September 2005, Rowhani made clear that Iran’s goal was to present the world with a fait accompli over its nuclear ambitions: “If, one day, we are able to complete the fuel cycle and the world sees that it has no choice, that we do possess the technology, then the situation will be different”.38
In February 2005 Rowhani was asked by Le Monde journalist if Iran was building secret tunnels to conceal its nuclear programme. In khod’eh mode he replied: “This could be true. But what is wrong with that? Since the Americans menaces (sic.) to attack our nuclear sites, what shall we do? One has to save them one way or another”.39
On 4 August 2005, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Hosein Musavian was interviewed on Iranian Channel 2. Musavian explained that he entered the negotiations to buy time to complete the Esfahan nuclear facility and rejected critics who insisted that Iran co-operate with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):40
“Those [in Iran] who criticise us and claim that we should have only worked with the IAEA do not know that at this stage — that is, in August 2003 — we needed another year to complete the Esfahan (UCF) [uranium conversion facility] project, so that it could be operational. …
“The regime adopted a twofold policy here: it worked intensively with the IAEA, and it also conducted negotiations on international and political levels. The IAEA gave us a 50-day extension to suspend the enrichment and all related activities. But, thanks to the negotiations with Europe, we gained another year, in which we completed (the UCF) in Esfahan.
“There was a time when we said we would not work with Europe, the world, or the IAEA, and that we would not comply with any of their demands. There were very clear consequences: After 50 days, the IAEA Board of Governors would have undoubtedly handed the Iranian dossier over to the (UN) Security Council. There is no doubt about it … this would have meant depriving Iran of the opportunity to complete the Esfahan project. …
“Esfahan’s (UCF) was completed during that year. Even in Natanz, we needed six to twelve months to complete the work on the centrifuges. Within that year, the Natanz project reached a stage where the small number of centrifuges required for the preliminary stage, could operate. In Esfahan, we have reached UF4 and UF6 production stages.
“We suspended the UCF in Esfahan in October 2004, although we were required to do so in October 2003. If we had suspended it then, (the UCF) in Esfahan would have never been completed. Today we are in a position of power: (The UCF) in Esfahan is complete and UF4 and UF6 gases are being produced. We have a stockpile of products, and during this period, we have managed to convert 36 tons of yellow cake into gas and store it.”
“Thanks to our dealings with Europe, even when we got a 50-day ultimatum, we managed to continue the work for two years. This way we completed (the UCF) in Esfahan. This way we carried out the work to complete Natanz, and on top of that, we even gained benefits. For 10 years, America prevented Iran from joining the WTO. … In these two years, and thanks to the Paris Agreement, we entered the international game of the nuclear fuel cycle, and Iran was recognised as one of the countries with a nuclear fuel cycle. An Iranian delegate even participated in the relevant talks. We gained other benefits during these two years as well.”
Since 2004, Iranians have been subject to the Iranian National Security Council’s circular banning, as a threat to national security, non-official publication of news and analysis relating to Iran’s nuclear programmes. Iranians receive “official” filtered and sanitised reports of the IAEA, U.S. and European negotiations in which the Iranian regime is depicted variously as victim of foreign conspirators who are denying Iranians the right to a peaceful nuclear programme for much needed energy; are plotting to exacerbate ethnic tensions, impose economic sanctions and making Iran vulnerable to Israeli-U.S. military attack.
In 2004, Iran’s nuclear advisor and senior negotiator with Europe, Sirus Naseri, claimed he had told the Europeans: “If you use threats and act belligerently, we will put the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] aside and continue clandestinely…”41
Diplomacy, and its diplomatic synonym “engagement”, is an exercise the Iranians have engaged in, and will continue to engage in, as long it takes to complete their nuclear programme.
What Motivates Ahmadinejad?
Ahmadinejad’s motivations can be summarised in a single word: mahdaviat, that is, “belief in and efforts to prepare for the Mahdi”. The Mahdi is, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the long-prophesied Islamic messiah destined to be “the restorer of religion and justice who will rule before the end of the world”.42 A member of the family of the Prophet, the Mahdi is otherwise known as the 12th and last of the Imams, or the Hidden Imam. Shi’ite tradition claims that this mystical figure, as a child in the year 941, disappeared or “occulted” to another plane of existence, but is destined to return at the end of time and reign for seven years before bringing final judgement and the end of the world.43
The Hidden Imam evidently has a keen interest in Iran’s nuclear development programme and communicates only through the president and, interestingly, not the supreme leader or the mullahs. Shortly before he announced that Iran was a member of the “nuclear club”, Ahmadinejad reportedly experienced a khalvat (tête à tête) with the Hidden Imam.
Ahmadinejad has “restored” the Hidden Imam with whom he has reportedly written and signed a pact, which displaces the power of the mullahs and the “supreme Guide”, and the Iranian electorate. The Iranian Government, in the person of Ahmad-inejad, is apparently responsible to the Hidden Imam. Politics and religion are now inseparable in Iran. It is wrong to say Ahmadinejad has challenged the Supreme Leader’s authority. Politics and religion have been inseparable since 1979.
Ahmadinejad believes the Hidden Imam will appear in his lifetime which will result in an apocalypse in which Muslims and Iran will be victorious. The West and Israel will have been “eliminated”.44
In September 2005, after addressing the UN General Assembly, he claimed to a leading Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, in a video circulated in Tehran:45
“I was told that that, when I began with the words ‘in the name of God’, I became surrounded by a light. I felt that the atmosphere changed there, and for 27-28 minutes, all the leaders [the leaders of the world] did not blink. … And they were rapt. It seemed as if a hand was holding them there and had opened their eyes… they had their eyes and ears open for the message from the Islamic republic.”
In November 2005, Ahmadinejad claimed in a speech to Friday prayer leaders across Iran:46
“Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi. Therefore, Iran should become a powerful, developed and model Islamic society. Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the policy of Imam Mahdi’s return. We should avoid copying the West’s policies and systems.”
In January 2006, in the holy city of Qom, he told theology students:47
“We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice.”
In Bernard Lewis’ memorable phrase, Ahmadinejad delights in “Islamic rage” and, even more, in the rage of Islam’s enemies. In April 2006, he declared: “To those who are angry with us, we have one thing to say: be angry, until you die of anger!”48
In August 2005, an Iranian analyst reported: “Ahmadinejad has already shown that he needs a lot of supervision. [In a single week], his government sent two ‘double urgent’ bills to the parliament. He gets so excited.” His cabinet nominations have produced ridicule and criticism after the Iranian parliament rejected four of his choices, including his preferred candidate for Iran’s vital oil ministry. It was revealed that a doctorate that Ahmadinejad’s nominee claimed to have been awarded from an American college was in fact a purchased on-line degree.49
Despite his capacity for visions and auditory and visual hallucinations, Ahmadinejad has dismissed and diagnosed opponents of Iran’s nuclear program as “mentally ill”, declaring: “Those, who are concerned by success of other nations, are suffering from mental illness and should be subjected to medical treatment.”50
Ahmadinejad’s Grand Anti-U.S. and Anti-Western Strategy
Throughout 2006 Ahmadinejad has been engaged in a diplomatic offensive reflecting the policies of Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who claimed on State television in March 2006: “The depth of our nation’s strategy and revolution has reached Islamic countries of the region, Palestine, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.”51
In June 2006, Iran successfully participated in the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), the Pan-Asian economic and security grouping dominated by Russia and China (two powers which, paradoxically, are concerned about Islamic separatist movements). Ahmadinejad claimed his talks with the Chinese premier were “very fruitful”. Concurrently, a senior Chinese minister visiting Tehran emphasised that the “economies of China and Iran are closely tied together”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated he wants more collaboration with Iran to win control over downstream energy supplies to “third countries”. He said: “We are talking about setting up a joint venture on the basis of Russian and Iranian deposits … We support these initiatives with our Iranian partners”. He added that Gazprom was “willing to take part in the construction of an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline”, despite U.S. objections.52
In June 2006, Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, the highest level contact between the two countries since the 1979 revolution.53 According to Iranian officials, Ahmad-inejad’s outspoken hostility to Israel has created a following in the Arab world, which Egypt, the nominal leader of the Arab world, cannot ignore.
From Iran’s perspective, Ahmad-inejad’s 10-12 May 2006 visit to Jakarta, at the invitation of the Indonesian Government, was a resounding success. He met members of the political elite and was greeted enthusiastically by thousands of university students at meetings. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at a dinner ceremony in honour of Ahmadinejad, clamed, “Tehran-Jakarta relations are very good and satisfactory” and expressed the hope that they would strengthen during the visit. He added that they had held “excellent talks during this visit”, during which they had “reached good agreements” that he hoped would be “executed very soon”.54 During the visit, Iran and Indonesian state oil companies signed an agreement to build in Java a $U.S.5 billion 300,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery.55
At the meeting of the D-8 [Developing Eight], mainly Muslim, nations in Bali on 13 May 2006, Indonesian Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro announced Indonesia’s plans to build its first major nuclear power plant by 2015 and did not expect international opposition.56 In his address to the D8 meeting Ahmadinejad claimed: “We should appreciate the opportunities given to us, given our remarkable facilities and reliance on the rich common Islamic culture.”57
After a meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono declared at a press briefing: “Indonesia believes that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful …”58
At the conclusion of the visit, Ahmadinejad invited President Yudhoyono to visit Tehran, stating that Iran defends Indonesia’s territorial integrity, an oblique reference to recent disputes with Australia over East Timor and refugee issues. Ahmadinejad, in an address to university students in Jakarta, described Israel as a tyrannical regime that “one day will vanish”.59
On 29 July 2006, President Chávez of Venezuela, a bitter opponent of the United States since his election victory in 1999, pledged in a visit to Tehran that his country would “stay by Iran at any time and under any condition. … We are with you and with Iran forever. As long as we remain united, we will be able to defeat [U.S.] imperialism, but if we are divided they will push us aside.”60 He added: “Let’s save the human race; let’s finish off the U.S. empire.”61
Ahmadinejad was equally fervid in his praise of Chávez, describing him as “a brother and a trench mate. … We do not have any limitation in cooperation. … Chávez is a source of a progressive and revolutionary current in South America and his stance in restricting imperialism is tangible”.62 Chávez has also proposed “close collaboration” on nuclear energy research with Iran.63
On 24 April 2006, President Ahmadinejad met with Sudanese envoys, including Sudanese President Omar Ahmad al-Bashir, for three days. Ahmadinejad claimed that the Iranian and Sudanese nations and governments had “a joint enemy”, which was “constantly impeding their advancement” and “hatching plots against them”. Al Bashir praised Iran’s scientific progress and stressed it belonged to all Muslims. He also praised the Iranian mullahs for mastering nuclear technology.64 Two months later, Ahmadinejad, speaking from Tehran, referred to Sudan’s isolation as a pariah state for its genocide policy against black Africans. He claimed defensively: “The Iranian Government and nation have always supported Muslim and oppressed peoples in the world.”65
Since mid-2000, China and Iran have had high-level political contacts. In July 2005, Iran was offered spectator status in the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO). On 27 July 2006, the Chinese Ambassador to Tehran claimed Ahmadinejad had referred to China as “Iran’s safest friend in the world”. Currently, China is involved in over 150 joint projects with Iran.66
Iran and the Non-Aligned Movement
From 27 to 30 May 2006, foreign ministers from countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) met in Putrajaya, Malaysia, and criticised central features of U.S. policy and definitions of terrorism.67 Malyasian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, speaking at the opening of the conference, said about the issue of Iran’s nuclear technology programme: “In this matter, we must recognise Iran’s right to develop such technology for peaceful purposes.”68 This statement was incorporated in the NAM’s final official communiqué.69 From an Iranian perspective, the NAM meeting was a success.
In November 2005, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro visited Tehran. Castro was given sacred Islamic texts written in Spanish and invited to become a Muslim by the Iranian leadership. Castro’s admiration for Iranians’ revolutionary fervour dates to the 1979 revolution when he sent envoys to recast Cuba-Iran relations and referred to his admiration of the “revolutionary role of Islam”.70
On an official visit in May 2001, Castro had agreed with Ayatollah Khamenei that Iran and Cuba could defeat America “hand in hand” and denounced Western hegemony, stressing that the U.S. was “extremely weak”. On that occasion, Castro was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tehran University for his supposed “contributions to justice, humanistic ideals and the fight against discrimination”.71
In January this year, Iranian Expediency Council chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani emphasised the importance of expanding Cuban-Iran relations to confront unilateralism of “the big power” (i.e., the United States). He has also expressed Iran’s interest in supplying the “technical and engineering requirements” of Cuba and other Latin American states, and praised Castro for resistance to the “hegemonic policies of the U.S. and anti-imperialism”.72
Early this year, the Cuban Ambassador to Tehran defended Iran’s right to use nuclear energy. Cuba has reportedly transferred Cuban biological and chemical warfare information to Iran. Iran has used Cuba’s electronic jamming expertise to intercept U.S. broadcasts to Iran. Covert co-operation between the two countries has led to the development and testing of electromagnetic weapons (“e-bombs”) able to disrupt telecommunication and power supplies and to wage cyber-warfare. These weapons can be delivered by cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles or aerial bombs against the communication and military infrastructure of target countries, notably the U.S.73
Ahmadinejad has also expressed his willingness to transfer to Latin America and especially Colombia Iran’s experience in various fields including nuclear energy. In September 2006 he met with Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos Caldéron and referred to Iran’s support for Colombia’s nuclear plans, informing him that, eventually, “all countries will feel the need to use peaceful nuclear energy”.74
Ahmadinejad’s regional and international meetings — founded on the basis of anti-Americanism, and Iran’s and all Muslim nations’ right to develop nuclear technology — are a strategy to create an Iranian-led, or dominated, “non-aligned” Islamic movement which could also extend to disenchanted and manipulable Muslim diasporas in Western countries.
The former Soviet Union and Europe have sufficient reserves of anti-Americanism to cement Iran’s planned anti-U.S. alliance which would necessarily be conducted on many levels and not openly declared by all participants. Nevertheless, it could be a potent force for the Islamic and non-Islamic mobilisation of anti-U.S. resentment throughout the world, and could lead to more Islamic, or anti-U.S. South American, countries demanding the right to their own “peaceful” nuclear weapons programmes.
Iran a “Soft” Intelligence Target?
Every Iranian nuclear breakthrough has been a surprise to U.S. and Western intelligence, as it has been clandestinely constructed through a maze of cut-outs, cover companies and espionage. Although there have often been technical indicators derived from satellites, there has not been the necessary information from human sources.
The conventional wisdom and official pronouncements define Iran as a “hard target” or denied area. CIA ethnocentric organisational culture has failed to develop the necessary cultural and sociolinguistic and operational skills to conduct effective penetration programmes against Iran. Farsi-speaking officers operating from third countries with access to Iranians are exceedingly rare. However, Iran’s cultural patterns of deception define Iran as a potential “soft target” for clandestine recruitment and covert action. According to the U.S.’s 9/11 Commission Report, the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence retains “some of its original character of a university gone to war”75 — unsuited for aggressive, timely and quality-information collection.
Many commentators correctly point to the pro-U.S. attitudes of many Iranians, especially Iranian youth who have to bear the burden of massive unemployment and burgeoning social problems. Many commentators point to the admiration and awe in which the United States is held by many Iranians. Most of the anti-U.S. hatred emanates from the dominant mullahs. It is not shared by much of the populace which silently opposes the regime and, as such, constitutes potential recruits. Approximately 7,000 Iranians are involved in the country’s nuclear programmes. The recruitment potential through their foreign travel, kinship and professional networks is self-evident.
Islamic and Iranian traditions of deception could be played back against the Iranian intelligence services. The critical weakness in CIA operations against Iran has been the failure of counter-intelligence to ensure communications and operational security and protect its agent networks. To date, key CIA operations have been neutralised by the Iran intelligence service’s aggressive counter-intelligence operations.76
The CIA documents seized during the Iranian 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy revealed that the approximately 5,000 “sources of information” were recruited from “all walks of life” and included almost all of the Shah’s known non-clerical opponents over some 25 years.77
The documents showed that many Iranians agreed to “become informants, informers or outright spies partly in order to advance their own careers in business or the civil service”. Consequently, they fed the United States with “information that suited their own personal schemes”.78 In the 1970s, this meant that an unusually high percentage of the information gathered was biased or unreliable and contaminated by the Iranian passion for deception. The documents also demonstrate the vital role of counter-intelligence in checking the bona fides of Iranian HUMINT (i.e., human intelligence) sources.
In the collection of nuclear intelligence, the problem of deception is more challenging as the stakes are higher and can involve national survival. Kitman and taqiyya are so “layered” and diffuse that verifying Iranian claims is virtually impossible, as Iran refuses to allow inspections without warning and threatens to withdraw from IAEA inspections.
IAEA Admissions of Failure
Since 1998, IAEA reports on Iran paint a picture of deception, evasion, concealment and obstruction. Iran has refused to hand over critical documentation and refused full inspection of selected and suspicious sites. In December 2005, IAEA Director-General Dr Mohamed ElBaradei warned that Iran could be “a few months away” from a nuclear weapon. “I know they are trying to acquire the full fuel cycle. I know that acquiring the full fuel cycle means that a country is months away from nuclear weapons, and that applies to Iran and everybody else”.79 In January 2006, Dr ElBaradei admitted: “For the last three years we have been doing intensive verification in Iran, and even after three years I am not yet in a position to make a judgement on the peaceful nature of the [nuclear] program”.80
In April 2006, the IAEA board of governors, in its overall assessment of this situation, noted:81
“After more than three years of Agency efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern. Any progress in that regard requires full transparency and active co-operation by Iran … if the Agency is to be able to understand fully the twenty years of undeclared nuclear activities by Iran.”
Iran has developed its clandestine nuclear programme for three decades by deception modalities — taqiyya, kitman and khod’eh — and proven it can “outwit” European and U.S. diplomats. Concurrently, Iran claims (a) that it is victimised and prevented by the U.S. and the West from its right to develop peaceful nuclear weapons programmes, and (b) that all Islamic countries have the right to develop nuclear programmes within a framework of anti-Americanism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Inspired by fear of, or respect for, Iranian nuclear capability, so-called “moderate” states, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have recently embarked on nuclear technology programmes.82 Not all of these states are more than allies of history and convenience to the United States. In the case of Egypt, the febrile political situation could lead to a victory of the Muslim Brotherhood. This new regional nuclear proliferation reverses the traditional policy of a nuclear-free Middle East — promoted by IAEA chief Dr ElBaradei — and undermines Israel’s posture as the sole nuclear-armed regional player and its policy of ambiguity known as the “bomb in the basement”.83
“Learning to live with the [Iranian] bomb” could be conceivable if Iran were not a “crazy state” and if it had at least a nominal adherence to international norms and conventions. However, Iran funds and trains terrorist entities such as Hamas and Hezbollah; enjoys fraternal relations with a developing network of rabidly anti-U.S. states, including Syria; threatens to “annihilate” Israel; and has regional and global ambitions to lead a coalition of “Muslim states” — some with prospective nuclear capability or at least intentions — against the U.S. and the West.
Iran is a “low-trust” society in which suspicion of “dark forces” and conspiracies are rife: it is one of the most conspiracy-minded countries in the Middle East.84 Given the domestic backdrop, the question must be asked: would Iran permit — without engaging in deception — on-site, without-warning and detailed inspections of its suspected nuclear installations? The record to date demonstrates that Iran will not permit such inspections (which it regards as an assault on its sovereignty). It also shows the secrecy surrounding Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear programme.
President Ahmadinejad is a leader who has visions and claims to communicate personally with the Hidden Imam. His period as president has been characterised by an unprecedented issuing of dire warnings threatening the extinction of designated countries, even extending to the threat of a military first strike against the U.S. Many of these statements and threats, which would normally be greeted with derision in other countries, are issued regularly in Iran, particularly on ceremonial occasions with large crowds present. They indicate the mood of the current leadership.
Ahmadinejad’s threatened extermination of Israel reflects the continuity of Iranian policy since 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini first declared that the Jewish state occupying Jerusalem “must be eliminated from the pages of history” (a policy which Ahmadinejad described, in 2005, as “very wise”).85 In December 2000, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his predecessor’s call for the elimination of Israel. In 2000, he described Israel as “this cancerous tumour of a state should be removed from the region”.86 In October 2005, President Ahmadinejad claimed that, after a short period, “the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple”,87 and, in July 2006, warned that it wouldn’t take long before “the wrath of the people in the region and the world turn into a terrible explosion that would wipe the Zionist entity off the map”.88
Although expressing the traditional mood of the “Arab street” and popular media through the Middle East, Iran’s policy is a declaratory policy and a major propaganda coup in the Middle East, where opposition to Israel is a source of political legitimacy.
No other Middle East leader issues threats to annihilate Israel, although the desire to do so is the staple of, and prevalent in, the Arab media, universities and popular and elite opinion. Israel (“Little Satan”) is seen as a colony of the U.S. (“Big Satan”) and as a nuclear threat to the region and to Muslims. This view provides support for the case that Iran requires a nuclear capability to help it “annihilate” the “Zionist entity”.
Interpreting the Iranian Threat Spectrum
Some American analysts are prone to literal interpretation of Ahmadinejad’s threats. But Iranian military threats emerge primarily from the dominant mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard which controls nuclear policy and doctrine. The threats may be a form of psychological warfare in the form of khod’eh or kitman and designed to intimidate and shape Western and regional perceptions and to probe reaction. Assessing the ratio of taqiyya and kitman in Iranian threat statements calls for intimate knowledge of Iran’s culture, Shi’ite Islam, and sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics in the Iranian context — a formidable challenge for U.S. intelligence analysts.
Many demonstrations of alleged Iranian strength — including bellicose statements by Ahmadinejad — may be taqiyya, operational games, or a form of threat and perception management against real and imaginary enemies to distract the country from looming economic and social problems.
For example, on 27 August 2006, the Iranians released a video allegedly showing the successful test of a new submarine-fired missile that flies across the water surface and targets ships. The missile, named “Sagheb” (i.e., “piercing”), was described by Iran’s top naval commander Admiral Sajjad Kouchaki as a long-range missile that could be launched from a number of ships, could avoid radar detection and was a smart weapon which “has a very high degree of precision, taking the enemy by surprise”. He added: “The missile has a massive destructive power.” The Pentagon assessed the video as a hoax which matched the video of an earlier Chinese test.89
Although many Iranian threats are virulent and infused with religious and political symbolism they cannot be dismissed as mere rhetoric as they express deadly intention. A regime based on the doctrinal-theological and political threat of “Death to America!” — which is an all-too-frequent liturgy in Friday prayers — gives the Iranian injunction to find “truth behind the curtain”90 a new urgency. As the intelligence controversies before and after the 2003 Iraq war demonstrated, the words “don’t know” have assumed overdue importance in intelligence assessments. As John R. Bolton, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, noted in August 2004: “If we permit Iran’s deception to go on much longer, it will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons.”91
In April 2006 the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee acknowledged that “we really don’t know” how close Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon.92 But there is an evidence-based international consensus derived from statements of formerly undisclosed Iranian nuclear negotiators, technical surveillance, numerous IAEA reports, recorded attempts by Iranian authorities to conceal sites from inspectors, and new revelations relating to disclosures from the clandestine, Pakistan-based nuclear network of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, that Iran is systematically planning to develop nuclear weapons.
Given the proven Iranian capacity for deception, combined with the parlous state of intelligence coverage of Iran by Western intelligence, there may be a parallel clandestine programme and concealed facilities or research programmes using cover organisations.
Unless “the truth behind the curtain” concerning Iran’s nuclear status is uncovered by on-site, without-warning and multi-national verification, Iranian deception modalities ensure that Iranian pronouncements on its nuclear programme cannot be trusted.
The lack of trust is a religious and cultural factor inspired by the Koran and hadiths (the recorded sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) and the 1,500-year-old traditions of taqiyya, kitman, khod’eh and taarof, which are embedded deeply in Iranian culture. Iran is unique and is proudly outside of, and hostile to, the prevailing system of “secular” and “satanic” states and international order. Iran has conducted, in the words of the IAEA, “twenty years of undeclared nuclear activities”93 . The imperative injunction in relation to Iran must therefore be: do not trust, but verify.
ENDNOTES:1. See the author’s three previous articles on the subject: Andrew Campbell, “‘Taqiyya’: How Islamic extremists deceive the West”, National Observer, No. 65, Winter 2005, pages 11–23; “‘Taqiyya’ and the global war against terrorism”, National Observer, No. 66, Spring 2005, pages 26–36; and “Iran’s nuclear deception: taqiyya and kitman (part I)”, National Observer, No. 67, Summer 2006, pages 8–25.
2. This article includes the examination of khod’eh and taarof and their significance for communication and nuclear negotiating strategies.
3. “A lesson for Americans about Iranians: the fine art of hiding what you mean to say to Iranians”, The New York Times, 19 August 2006.
4. Michael Slackman, “Iranian 101: a lesson for Americans: The fine art of hiding what you mean to say”, The New York Times, 6 August 2006.
6. “The concept of Persian taarof: a sociolinguistic knowledge of the speech act measured by the Persian Taarof Comprehension Test”, Fall 2004. Developed by: Fatima Farideh Nejat. Monterey Institute of International Studies, California. URL: www.iranian.com/Nejat/2005/July/Taarof/index.html (updated: 13 July 2005).
7. Michael Slackman, op. cit.
8. Amir Taheri, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 1986), pages 217, 230.
9. Ibid., page 217: Khomeini’s Komiteh revolutionaries [an 80-member group of mullahs and other fervent Iranian Shi’ites] executed many former army officials and national enemies. He claimed, “These people are guilty in any case, so hear what they say and send them to hell.” After viewing the naked and bleeding corpses from the roof of a school, he declared: “Allah gave them their just deserts.” Khomeini claimed that those who objected to the killings only “had animal understanding”. According to Taheri, and verified by contemporary accounts: “The pro-Moscow Tudeh Party provided invaluable service in psychological warfare, sabotage and the organization of industrial strikes.” (Taheri, op. cit., page 257.)
10. Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), page 310.
11. Taheri, op. cit., page 227.
12. Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution & Secret Deals with the U.S. English trans. (Washington DC: Brassey’s, 1991), page 2.
13. Ezatollah Sahabi, “What Happened in the Council of Revolution”, Iran Farda 52 (March 1999), pages 7-8, cited in Behzad Yaghmaian, Social Change in Iran: an eyewitness account of dissent, defiance, and new movements for rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), pages 253-4.
14. Ibrahim Yazdi, “Behind the Scene of the Revolution in Paris”, Iran Farda 51, February 1999, pages 22, cited in B. Yaghmanian, Social Change in Iran, page 253.
15. William Shawcross, The Shah’s Last Ride: The Fate of an Ally (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988), page 116.
16. Ibid., page 260.
Readers should note taqiyya and kitman are often used synonymously. The operational definition is clear: both terms refer to religiously-sanctioned deception of kaffir (unbelievers) and Muslims. Kitman is a deception modality used in Iranian domestic and external politics. Both are justified by Islamic history, with reference to religious authorities, including the actions of the Prophet Mohamed, and the Koran and hadiths (the recorded sayings of the Prophet) and in dealings with kaffir generally. Ziad Abu-Amr, a noted scholar of Islamic fundamentalism, notes: “It is true that the concept [taqiyya] is primarily a Shi’ite strategy. But it also remains Islamic, and Sunnis can use it suits their purposes; there are numerous verses in the Quran that justify the concealing of one’s intentions if that serves the interests of the Muslims.” See Ziad Abu-Amr, “Shaykh Ahmad Yasin and the Origins of Hamas”, in R. Scott Appleby (ed.), Spokesmen for the Despised: Fundamentalist Leaders of the Middle East (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), page 256, note 42.
17. Amir Taheri, op cit., page 230.
18. B. Yaghmaian, Social Change in Iran (2002), op. cit., page 210.
19. The definitive edition is Islamic Government Governance of the Jurist by Imam Khomeini (ra), published by the Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works (Tehran: International Affairs Department, n.d.). For references to taqiyya, see index to Imam Khomeini, “Islamic Government” [Hukumat-e Islami], in Islam and Revolution, Hamid Algar ed. (London: KPI, 1981), and especially pages 34, 72, 95, 133, 144, and 147.
20. Edward Shirley, Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997), page 189.
21. Amir Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, page 197.
22. Samuel P. Huntington’s essay in Foreign Affairs (vol. 72, no. 3, Summer 1993), which he later expanded into a book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1998).
23. Amir Taheri, “A Clash of Civilizations”, Newsweek, 5 September 2005.
24. “Transcript of bin Laden’s October interview”, CNN.com report, February 5, 2002. Bin Laden was interviewed by the al-Jazeera television correspondent in Kabul, Tayseer Alouni, who was jailed by a Spanish court on 19 November 2005 for seven years for his clandestine role in the al Qaeda network. The judge accused him of providing housing, money and residency papers to al Qaeda members arriving in Spain and acting as a courier providing funds and logistics support for al Qaeda members alleged to have plotted the 9/11 attacks. Sam Knight, “Spain jails 9/11 plotter for 27 year”, The Times (UK), 26 September 2005 and “Spain jails 9/11-linked al-Quaida suspect”, The Guardian (UK), 26 September 2005. On 28 September 2005, al-Qaeda’s internet news broadcast Soul Al-Khilafa [Voice of the Caliphate] “expressed compete solidarity with our brother Tayseer ’Alouni”, and pronounced a formal blessing on him. Transcript reproduced in Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), clip. no. 869, 28 September 2005.
25. Cited in Amir Taheri, “Iran Restive Provinces”, Arab News, 27 May 2006.
26. Amir Taheri, “Iran’s agenda for the world”, Arab News, 20 August 2005.
27. “Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’: Iran president”, Agence France-Presse (AFP), 26 October 2005.
28. “Global jihad: Iran’s new president promotes suicide squads”, WorldNetDaily.com, 30 July 2005.
29. Amir Taheri, “Iran’s agenda for the world”, Arab News, 20 August 2005.
30. Amir Taheri, “Misunderstanding Iran”, Arab News, 8 April 2006.
31. Hasan Abbasi’s address to the Gathering of Seekers of Martyrdom, Tehran, 2 June 2004, cited in “Official launching of new suicide terrorist organization in Iran promises ‘holy terror’”, Intelligence Council of the Marze Por Gohar Party, Iranians for a secular republic (Los Angeles) at URL: www.marzeporgohar.org/index.php?l=1&cat=21&scat=&artid=398
32. Amir Taheri, “The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb”, Daily Telegraph (London), 16 April 2006.
33. Amir Taheri, “The last helicopter”, The Wall Street Journal, 29 March 2006.
34. Hasan Abbasi interview in Arash Bahmani, “Plans to harm U.S. interests?”, Rooz (English edition), 27 March 2006, at URL: http://roozonline.com/english/014736.shtml
35. Simon Tisdall, “Power and the people”, The Guardian (UK), 21 August 2006.
36. “We duped the West, by Iran’s nuclear negotiator”, Daily Telegraph (London),
5 March 2006. Rowhani’s comments were published in a journal restricted to the Iranian ruling elite.
37. “Iran confirms building secret nuclear tunnels”, Iran Press Service, 25 February 2005.
38. “Iran models nuclear plan on Pakistan”, Sunday Telegraph (London), 23 April 2006.
39. “Iran confirms building secret nuclear tunnels”, Iran Press Service, 25 February 2005.
40. Hosein Musavian, “The negotiations with Europe bought us time”, MEMRI Special Dispatch Series, no. 957, 12 August 2005.
41. Interview with Sirus Naseri, MEMRI TV Monitor Project, Clip No 351, 10 November 2004.
42. Daniel Pipes, “Iran’s messianic menace”, FrontPageMagazine.com, 10 January 2006.
43. “The esoteric world of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”, Jihad Watch, 17 November 2005.
44. Amir Taheri, “The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb”, Daily Telegraph (London), 16 April 2006.
45. Cited in Daniel Pipes, “Iran’s messianic menace”, FrontPageMagazine.com, 10 January 2006. See also Golnaz Esfandiari, “President sees light surrounding him”, Iran Press Service, 29 November 2005.
46. “Iran president paves the way for Arabs’ imam return”, Persian Journal, 17 November 2005.
47. “Iran leader: Islam to ‘rule the world’”, WorldNetDaily.com, 10 January 2006.
48. Amir Taheri, “The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb”, Daily Telegraph (London), 16 April 2006.
The roots of Islamic rage are also expressed in Iranian Expediency Council Chairman Rafsanjani’s reply to a query from a French diplomat concerning the possibility of being a target of a U.S. attack: “Even if I am the target, [Iran will not relinquish its nuclear program]”, reported in Al-Hayat (London), 29 March 2005, cited in Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Inquiry and Analysis Series – No. 218, 7 April 2005.
49. Karl Vick, “Iran moves to curb hard-liners”, Washington Post, 8 October 2005, page A13.
50. “Ahmadinejad calls ‘mentally ill’ opponents of Iranian nuclear program”, REGNUM News Agency, 18 May 2006.
51. “Supreme Leader: Iran’s ideology spans North Africa to India”, Iran Focus, 25 March 2006.
52. “Bush wrongfooted as Iran steps up international charm offensive”, The Guardian (UK), 20 June 2006.
53. “Nuclear proposals contain problems”, Iran Daily, 12 June 2006.
54. “Indonesian President asks for broader ties with Iran”, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), 11 May 2006.
55. “$5b refinery deal inked with Indonesia”, Iran Daily, 10 May 2006.
56. “Iran leader emboldened by Muslim support”, Washington Post, 13 May 2006.
57. “Ahmadinejad calls on Islamic states to promote their potentials”, Islamic Repubic News Agency (Jakarta), 13 May 2006.
58. “Indonesia backs Iran’s claim of peaceful nuclear program” Agence France-Presse, 10 May 2006.
59. Samantha Brown, “Israel will one day vanish — Iran”, iafrica.com, 11 May 2006.
60. “Iranian leader calls Chávez a ‘trench mate’”, Associated Press, 30 July 2006.
61. “Hugo Chávez receives Iran’s highest honor”, Associated Press, 30 July 2006.
62. “Iranian leader calls Chávez a ‘trench mate’”, Associated Press, 30 July 2006.
63. Thomas Joscelyn, “Mullah Chávez: a look at the blossoming of Iranian and Venezuelan ‘brotherhood’”, The Weekly Standard (Washington DC), 20 October 2005.
64. “Muslim nations can overcome problems”, Iran Daily, 24 April 2006.
65. “President stresses expansion of multi-dimensional ties with Sudan”, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Tehran, 21 June 2006.
66. “Chinese envoy satisfied with current level of ties with Iran”, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), 27 July 2006.
“China and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis”, China Brief Volume v1”, February 2006.
67. Robert T. McLean, “The return of the Non-Aligned Movement”, The American Spectator, 27 June 2006.
68. Transcript of Malaysian Prime Minister’s speech at the Non-Aligned Movement meeting at Putrajaya on 29 May 2006, para 30.
69. “Non-Aligned countries declare support to Iran nuclear rights”, ArabicNews.com, 30 May 2006.
70. Frederick W. Stakelbeck, “The Iran-Cuba Axis” FrontPageMagazine.com, 18 January 2006.
71. “Cuba and Iran to fight jointly the United States”, Iran Press Service, 10 May 2001.
72. Frederick W. Stakelbeck, “The Iran-Cuba Axis” FrontPageMagazine.com, 18 January 2006.
73. Frederick W. Stakelbeck, “The Iran-Cuba Axis” FrontPageMagazine.com, 18 January 2006.
74. “Ahmadinejad says Iran ready to transfer experience to Colombia”, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), 16 September 2006.
75. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States [The 9/11 Commission Report] (Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2004) page 90.
76. John Walcott and Brian Duffy, “The CIA’s Darkest Secrets”, U.S. News and World Report, 4 July 1994. See also: Andrew Campbell, “Iran’s nuclear deception: taqiyya and kitman (part I)”, National Observer, No. 67, Summer 2006, pages 20–22.
77. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, page 267.
79. “UN chief urges West and Iran to cool brinkmanship over nuclear programme”, The Independent (UK), 5 December 2005.
80. “Diplomacy and force”, an interview with IAEA’s ElBaradei, Newsweek (New York), 23 January 2006.
81. Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Report by the IAEA Director-General (International Atomic Energy Agency, GOV/2006/27, dated: 28 April 2006), page 7, para 34.
82. “Six Arab states join rush to go nuclear”, The Times (London), 4 November 2006.
83. Ze’ev Schiff, “Report: Iran may prompt other Mideast states to go nuclear” Haaretz.com, 24 April 2006. Sections of the 250-page top-secret report, prepared by the Israeli Government’s Meridor Committee, have been made available to selected Israeli and “friendly” sources.
84. Andrew Campbell, “Iran’s nuclear deception”, National Observer, No. 67, Summer 2006, pages 17–18.
85. “Iranian president at Tehran conference”, MEMRI Special Dispatch Series, no. 1013, 28 October 2005.
86. “Iran leader urges destruction of ‘cancerous’ Israel”, CNN.com 15 December 2000.
87. “Iranian president at Tehran conference”, MEMRI Special Dispatch Series, no. 1013, 28 October 2005.
88. “Israel must be removed, says Iran’s president”, Iran Press Service, 8 July 2006.
89. Julian E. Barnes, “Video of Iranian missile test is fake, Pentagon says”, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2006.
90. In Iran, truth is described as being posht-e pardeh (hidden behind the curtain). See: Andrew Campbell, “Iran’s nuclear deception”, National Observer, No. 67, Summer 2006, pages 17 and 20.
91. John R. Bolton, “Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons”, remarks to the Hudson Institute, Washington DC, 17 August 2004.
92. “Rep. says Iran’s nuke capability unknown”, Washington Post, 23 April 2006.
93. IAEA Director-General’s report (28 April 2006), op. cit., page 7, para 34.
(Council for the National Interest, Melbourne),
No. 70, Spring 2006,