This little tidbit out of Iran came out yesterday and if nothing else, it should be good for a few chuckles. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani released a statement clearly directed at the United Nations in general and most of our European allies in particular. As the UN security council considers new or renewed sanctions on Rouhani’s nation, he declared that Iran has “never sought nuclear weapons” and would never do so, with or without any sort of deal with the United States in place.

As an uncle of mine used to be fond of saying, pull the other one. It’s got bells on it. (The Hill)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country will never seek nuclear weapons, with or without a treaty in place, and urged European nations not to violate the 2015 deal that President Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2018.

“We have never sought nuclear weapons … With or without the nuclear deal, we will never seek nuclear weapon,” Rouhani said, according to Reuters, which cited the president’s Iranian website.

“The European powers will be responsible for the consequences of violating the pact,” he reportedly added.

What’s going on here seems fairly obvious. Rouhani is trying to weasel his way out from under any new sanctions and trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe by invoking President Trump’s withdrawal from the Obama administration’s nuclear deal. Of course, it’s no longer clear that the sanctions will even go into place given Russia and China’s recent coziness with the Iranians.

But let’s pretend that Rouhani’s claims are plausible since he managed to deliver them with a straight face. If Iran has never sought nuclear weapons and “will never seek” them under any circumstances, how about just opening up the doors and allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors free access to all of your facilities? That would end the discussion once and for all.

Nobody is objecting to Iran developing peaceful nuclear technology to produce energy. (Though why you need to invest in that expensive technology when you’re sitting on an ocean of oil is something of a mystery.) If you give the IAEA inspectors free rein to all facilities and they find zero evidence of tactical weapons development, we don’t even need a deal and the entire subject can be dropped.

Of course, that’s not going to happen because Rouhani is lying and his words don’t match even his most recent actions. It was literally only four days ago when he threatened to stop cooperating with the IAEA inspectors entirely. If you’re really pure as the driven snow and not working on a nuclear weapons program, what’s the harm letting them do their job?

On top of that, less than three months ago, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA announced that they had begun injecting uranium gas into centrifuges in the presence of United Nations inspectors. There is no practical application for that type of enrichment except for use in weapons. How stupid does this guy think we are?

This entire dog and pony show is ridiculous. Rouhani and his minions are either lying or they are dangerously stupid. They have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose by allowing the inspectors into all of their facilities if there’s nothing to hide. They would avoid all manner of sanctions and the west would mostly leave them alone. (Well, except for rooting out their terrorist activities abroad.) But it’s obvious that they do have something to hide. It’s simply not credible to accept the idea that they would pretend to have a weapons program.