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Iran's nuclear intentions not to be trusted

Russia just tilted the table in favor of Iran in negotiations to limit its nuclear capacity in exchange for easing international economic sanctions on the country — as if the mullahs who call the shots in Iran really needed any extra help.

As negotiators representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany scramble to reach an agreement by a Nov. 24 deadline, the Russians this week separately sealed a deal with Iran that appears to open a way for Tehran to produce fuel for its own nuclear reactors.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian uses only. But insisting and proving are different things. The U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency since February has sought information on alleged experiments with detonators capable of setting off nuclear explosions, work on high-explosive charges used in nuclear blasts and studies on calculating nuclear explosive yields.

Iran has only provided information on the detonators, saying they are for oil exploration and non-nuclear military purposes. The IAEA, however, says the information suggests they were being tested for nuclear weapons use.

Such obfuscation is not new for Iran and further supports the notion that it can’t be trusted.

And why is this especially important? In light of Iran’s continued calls for Israel’s annihilation — as recent as this week by its supreme religious leader — Israel is understandably nervous about any expansion of Iran’s nuclear capability.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the U.S. and its negotiating allies not to rush into a deal with what he called a “terrorist regime.”

That’s good advice. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry should proceed with caution and not be pressured by Russia without more conclusive and trustworthy information about Iran’s activities and intentions. Everyone wants a real deal. Nobody should want a bad one.

— Albuquerque Journal