It is perfectly obvious that Iran's latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20%). Which is why the French foreign ministry immediately declared that the trumpeted temporary shipping of some Iranian uranium to Turkey will do nothing to halt Iran's nuclear program.
But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs' nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran's program.
The real news is that already notorious photo [above]: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world - a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam picture.
That picture is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how [two countries] having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.
President Obama's Declining Clout -Richard Cohen
On the periphery of Europe is Turkey, seeking to reestablish some of the influence the Ottoman Empire once had in the region. It may also be reverting to a more Islamic state, possibly concluding that nearly a century of Ataturk's secularism is enough.
Turkey no longer needs the United States as a Cold War ally, and it even blocked military access to Iraq at the start of the war. The waning pull of the American present can no longer match the pull of the Ottoman past. Israel, beware.
As Ugly as It Gets -Thomas L. Friedman
When I first saw the May 17 picture of Iran's president Ahmadinejad, joining his Brazilian counterpart and the Turkish prime minister with raised arms - all I could think of was: Is there anything uglier than watching democrats sell out other democrats to a Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing Iranian thug just to tweak the U.S. and show that they, too, can play at the big power table?
Lula and Erdogan's visit to Iran came just days after Iran executed five political prisoners who were tortured into confessions.
What this deal really does is what Iran wanted it to do: weaken the global coalition to pressure Iran.
(New York Times)