Global Security Headlines

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tehran to World: "Shah Mat"

credit: IRNA

Triumphantly celebrating the occasion of its 30 years of revolution, Iranian grand master Ehsan Qaem-Maqami beat former Russian World Champion Anatoly Karpov in the old Persian game of chess on Monday.

However, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the true pleasure in declaring "Checkmate!" (Shah Mat) to the world community in hailing the successful launch of a rudimentary communication satellite using the Safir-2 rocket later in the evening.

So, to the forlorn meeting on Wednesday in Frankfurt of the so-called " 5 Plus 1" Group (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China plus Germany), Iran sends its emissary (Safir) - a rocket launch - right in your face.

Russia apparently will not attend dooming the discussion about the Iranian nuclear program and leaving the Western powers to chat among themselves. While chatting, Tehran plans its next three moves in the complex chess match with the international community.

Significant Satellite Launch

The significance of the successful satellite launch (video) cannot be discounted. Iran joins the elite list of now 11 countries that have done so. National pride to satiate internal regime critics is very valuable to President Ahmadinejad.

However, the satellite is not the issue. The capability of shooting a payload and the type of payload into the heavens are.

Despite strict international sanctions to blunt such activity, the Iranian breakout as discussed in my previous post continues with the latest launch. Obviously economic sanctions have failed to deter Tehran.

The next firing of a missile could carry a nuclear warhead. Indeed, a satellite launch vehicle (SLV) is required infrastructure and technology to lob a projectile anywhere in the world - the scariest result of Tehran's latest technical demonstration.

Shah Mat

Tehran is not moved by diplomatic discussions, deterred by economic sanctions, or fearful of any military moves by the international community.

The Western powers have no will to challenge Iran directly.

Russia and China have interlocking political, economic, and military goals in concert with Tehran's steely-eyed defiance of its enemy number one, the United States. Iran is their proud proxy to challenge perceived US hegemony.

Any confrontation with Tehran risks also consequences with Moscow and Beijing. That point cannot be underestimated in the policy calculus. Moscow's skipping the Group Plus 1 talks is telling.

Going Forward

Those countries who oppose Iran's date with its nuclear destiny are checkmated. No incentives short of regime change in Tehran amuse the ruling elite.

As soon as the international community understands that point, the sooner a resolution of the Iranian issue can be had.

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