Tony Blankley

"Blocking research activities is similar to blocking the light" was the poetic phrase used by Iran's head of nuclear research, Hossein Ghafourian, on Iranian radio last weekend to defend Iran's plans to restart their nuclear centrifuge research.

 It is precisely the fear of such blinding and incinerating nuclear light that is moving the world's diplomats to speak out with increasing stridency and urgency in the face of Iran's intent to recommence nuclear research and testing that might lead to their development of nuclear weapons.

 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir responded to Iranian words of intent to break the seals and restart the nuclear program: "This marks a breach of Tehran's commitments. [Iran is sending] very, very disastrous signals. It cannot remain without consequences ... We have had two very, very grave signals from the Iranian government over the past weekend."

 French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy warned: "We urge Iran to immediately and unconditionally reverse its decision ... [It] is a reason for very serious concern." European Foreign Minister Javier Solana warned that the situation is "serious." Mohammed El Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said he is "losing his patience" with Iran and that they were approaching "a red line for the international community."

 These statements follow actions last Saturday by all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (China, Russia, France, Britain and the United States). Each country separately sent a demarche (a formal diplomatic communique) to Iran warning the country it could face United Nations Security Council censure and sanctions.

 When cautious and circumspect European diplomats use words like "serious," "grave," "disastrous," "red line for international community," "urge Iran to immediately and unconditionally reverse its decision," the rest of us should take these phrases as unambiguous evidence that an international crisis of the first water is fast building.

 The event that may precipitate formal diplomatic action will occur in March, when IAEA head El Baradei will file his next report to the U.N. on the nuclear program status of Iran.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate