Western Officials Are Laughing at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

February 11, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

It hurts not to be taken seriously, and that’s why the Iranian dictator went around boasting that he was going to deliver a knockout blow to the West in his speech today. The speech just kind of swung and missed. How badly? Mark Hosenball explains:

A European official with knowledge of Iran, who also asked for anonymity, said that despite the latest nuclear pronouncements of Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials, many Western governments remain skeptical of Iran’s ability to produce uranium enriched to the 20 percent level—nevermind enriching it to a higher, bomb-grade purity of up to 97 percent. “Nobody even knows if they can do 20 percent,” the European official told Declassified. The Washington Postreported on Thursday that the Iranians were experiencing “surprising setbacks” in their enrichment efforts, failures the paper said “could undermine” Iran’s ambitions to dramatically expand its nuclear program.

The European official added that Iran’s erratic behavior, including its on-again-off-again response to a deal brokered by international negotiators to send its nuclear-power fuel rods abroad for processing, has alienated some important powers, like Russia, that in the past might have blocked efforts by the U.S. and Europe to tighten sanctions on Iran.

Once feared, Ahmadinejad is becoming a clown.