November 27, 2007

THE SCARLET AND THE BLACK (via Luciferous):

Iran's Secret Weapon: The Pope (Jeff Israely, Nov. 26, 2007, TIME)

The diplomatic chess game around Iran's nuclear program includes an unlikely bishop. According to several well-placed Rome sources, Iranian officials are quietly laying the groundwork necessary to turn to Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican diplomats for mediation if the showdown with the United States should escalate toward a military intervention. The 80-year-old Pope has thus far steered clear of any strong public comments about either Iran's failure to fully comply with U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors or the drumbeat of war coming from some corners in Washington. But Iran, which has had diplomatic relations with the Holy See for 53 years, may be trying to line up Benedict as an ace in the hole for staving off a potential attack in the coming months. "The Vatican seems to be part of their strategy," a senior Western diplomat in Rome said of the Iranian leadership. "They'll have an idea of when the 11th hour is coming. And they know an intervention of the Vatican is the most open and amenable route to Western public opinion. It could buy them time."

If the situation heats up in the coming months, the question of exactly what role the Vatican would play could become pivotal. Says one high-ranking Vatican official: "The Iranians look to the Holy See with particular attention. It is born from our common religious matrix." [...]

Asked about the standoff with the West over his country's nuclear program, Fahima repeated Iran's insistence that it is seeking atomic power only for civilian purposes. Moreover, he said he doubts that the United States can resolve key regional issues in the Middle East, including Iraq and Lebanon, without the help of Iran. "We don't expect the superpower will attack," Fahima concluded. "But if they do, I am sure the Holy See would not be favorable to such a choice."


They opposed the Iraq War too and then appointed the most pro-American pope ever.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 27, 2007 5:50 PM
Comments

Deeds, not words.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 28, 2007 4:59 AM
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