With the revelation that Iran has been secretly working on an undeclared uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, the world finds it's attention once again riveted on the recalcitrant regime in Tehran and it's opaque nuclear aspirations. Following the harsh condemnations and cryptic warnings of the united front of American President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, mercurial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remained typically defiant. Responding to Obama's uncharacteristically stern remarks which were reprised in his weekly radio/internet address on Saturday, the beleaguered and controversial Iranian president warned his American counterpart would come to regret them. Defending the heretofore secrecy of the facility, Ahmadinejad stated the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) only requires formal notification six months prior to a facility's operational completion. Noting the facility is still eighteen months from functional operability, he insisted Iran was not technically in violation of the UN atomic watchdog's requirements. Following Friday's verbal jousting, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps conducted a series of missile tests that culminated Monday with the successful launch of upgraded versions of the Shahab-3 and Sajjil-2 missiles. With a range of 1,250 miles, the surface-to-surface missiles place Israel and US bases in the region well within Tehran's military reach. Ironically, the tests came mere hours after US Secretary of State praised Tehran's decision to open the formerly secret facility near Qom to inspectors from the IAEA. Roundly condemned by the international community, the missile drills were part of the Guards' annual war games with the Shahab-3 launch falling on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for devout Jews. Coinciding with the anniversary of the launch of 1973 Yom Kippur War in which Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the symbolism and timing of the missile test added fuel to Jerusalem's calls for a coordinated and decisive international effort to halt Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. With talks between the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the US, Great Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran scheduled to begin this coming Thursday, the long term impact of the facility's disclosure remains to be seen. However, as is so often the case, there are winners and losers in the interim. Today, let's take a look at the losers. Among them are..... Iran- The regime in Tehran has once again demonstrated that it lives by the motto - The ends justify the means. From fraudulent election results to undisclosed nuclear facilities that comply with the letter but not the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the mullahs are willing to play fast and loose in the name of regime survival and the advancement of it's strategic goals. The end result is a complete lack of credibility on the international stage and a glaring disdain for the rule of law, both at home and abroad. Anyone familiar with the term pariah state? In addition to this, Iran has re-energized and enhanced the credibility of Neocons in the US and warhawks in Israel. Having been marginalized by the political and economic costs of the Bush Doctrine and the election of Barack Obama, they are now moving back to the foreign policy forefront, propelled in large part by the duplicity of the mullahs in Tehran. This latest revelation reinforces their assertion that the regime cannot be trusted nor deterred, it must be confronted and if need be attacked. The IAEA- The international atomic watchdog has proven yet again it cannot independently execute critically vital elements of it's assigned mission. Were it not for the work of Western intelligence agencies, the keystone cops from Geneva would still be clueless to the Qom facility's existence. While they are the embodiment of the axiom "ignorance is bliss", in the case of Iran it is also potentially disastrous and deadly on a truly horrific scale. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty- The fact that the anti-proliferation regime allows nations to travel the road towards weaponization without being in technical violation undermines it's raison d'etre. Furthermore, the fact that rogue states such as Iran can construct clandestine facilities safe in the knowledge they will face no repercussions beyond a stern tongue-lashing so long as they divulge them within months of coming on-line highlights another fatal loophole in it's design. At this point one, has to ask if the treaty is even worth the paper it's written on. Germany- With significant and growing economic ties with Iran, Germany has soft peddled talk of substantive sanctions against the recalcitrant regime thus far. With this latest disclosure of Tehran's unrepentant obfuscation, pressure is dramatically increasing from Washington, London and Paris for Berlin to place principal before profits once and for all. It's ultimate decision will greatly influence its' future role in the Western camp. The question is, though, what does one do when profit is one's primary principal? China and Russia- Expectations are rising in the West (read: Washington, London, Paris and Jerusalem) for Tehran's patrons on the Security Council to at the very least acquiesce, if not enthusiastically support increased sanctions on the regime. Of the two, China has the least to gain and the most to loose from such a move. Depending on Iran for fifteen (15) percent of it's oil with deference to a state's sovereignty as the bedrock of it's foreign policy, don't look for Beijing to eagerly assist the West with it's pesky Persian predicament anytime soon. Dmitry Medvedev- Though the Russian president condemned Tehran for it's duplicity and lack of candor and halfheartedly nodded towards the "inevitability" of increased sanctions, he was nowhere to be found when time came for a unified denouncement of the regime. Why? Because on the Russian ship of state Medvedev is little more than the cruise director; true power lies with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Though some were heartened by Medvedev's statements as a sign that Russia is beginning to tire of it's troublesome neighbors to the south, astute observers wait for Putin to set the course for Russia through the tumultuous waters ahead. Barack Obama- In adopting a stern stance against Tehran, the President has dramatically raised expectations for himself and the US. Not only is there the assumption that the administration will eschew flowery rhetoric of reconciliation and gestures of comity in the upcoming multi-party talks with Tehran, it will also be expected to be prepared to take aggressive and substantive action should those talks fail to produce any tangible progress. Having drawn a line in the proverbial sand, the pressure is on the national security neophyte to dispel doubts about his subjective credibility. Is Obama all talk and no show, or does he put his money, or in this case the political, economic and military might of the United States where his mouth is? Gambling going on here? Clandestine nuclear facilities in Iran? I'm shocked, faithful readers. Shocked, I say. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and we see if Iran craps out as it rolls the nuclear dice.