Tuesday, February 07, 2006

True fiction: the US. the UN and Iran

The US and the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) are presenting the decision by the IAEA to refer Iran to the UN Security Council as a major diplomatic victory.

I really don't know who they think they're fooling.

Iran, of course, went ballistic as expected and immediately said it would stop all cooperation with IAEA inspectors.

Iran's president Ahamadinejad said the decision showed that the IAEA members were "stupid" because they "do not understand that the world has changed. They believe that we are still in the Middle Ages, where several people decide and others accept. But this era is over." Iran also announced that it was resuming full uranium enrichment activities.

There's clear evidence that Iran is working feverishly to build nuclear weapons and a missle delivery system. But the Russians and Chinese insisted on delaying Iran's referral to the UN Security Council for five weeks before signing onto the resolution.

Not only that, but the chance that the Security Council will take any meaningful action on the issue in March is almost zero.

Immediately after the IAEA's decision was announced, the veto-wielding Chinese changed their minds again and announced that China would oppose any resolution calling for sanctions on Iran. China's ambassador to the UN, Wang Guangya, explained that his government opposed sanctions as "a matter of principle."

So Iran has just received five weeks to go wild and enrich as much uranium as it can get its hands on, and China has made clear it will block any UN sanctions against Iran.

Another factor that lessens the likelyhood of UN action is that the IAEA's own Inspector Clouseau,IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei of Egypt will be the man who is submitting the report on Iran to the Security Council.

ElBaradei either managed not to notice or deliberately ignored Iran's nuclear program being created under his nose even with regular IAEA inspections. Two and a half years ago, information regarding Iran's burgeoning nuclear weapons program first surfaced and he was forced to deal with it. Since then he's been actively sabotaging every attempt to refer the issue of Iran's non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the UN Security Council, even though this blatantly breached the IAEA charter.

As far back as October 2004, ElBaradei was saying "the jury is still out on whether the mullahs want the bomb." At the same time ElBaradei was making this statement, Muhammed Ghannadi, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told the Teheran Times that the Isfahan uranium enrichment facility was "70 percent operational right now."

With this kind of track record, it's a pretty safe bet that ElBaradei/Clouseau will deliver a report to the UN filled with loopholes and vague explanations, making it difficult if not impossible to get majority support for taking any action whatsoever against Teheran.

Adding to the mix was the language inserted into the IAEA resolution that makes it the "objective" of the IAEA to render "the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, including their means of delivery."

As I reported, this clause was deliberately inserted at the insistance of Egypt with the support of ElBaradi in order to link action on Israel and its nuclear arsenal with Iran and its nuclear weapons program. Time after time ElBaradei has claimed that it would be hypocritical to censure Iran, or take any actions against it at all, as long as Israel has nuclear capabilities...and never mind that Israel has never signed the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty like Iran, or that Israel has never threatened any of its neighbors with extinction.

Since Israel is unlikely to voluntarily give up its primary means of deterance, this provides a ready made excuse for countries like Russia and China to avoid signing on to sanctions and scuttles any chance of a majority consensus.

This was the diplomatic victory Condi Rice was so proud of?

What's worse, the US decision to tie all its efforts on Iran to a UN security Council referral is exactly the same mistake it made in the run up to war on Iraq. In both instances, the US attempt to to build a `coalition' at the UN was and is motivated as an attempt to gain political support here and abroad to placate the the opponents of waging a war against Islamic fascism.

Not only is there is no chance of getting a UN sanctions resolution passed against Teheran, but even if there was the sanctions would end up a fiasco, as long as Iran has oil to sell and willing buyers. You would have hoped Bush would have learned that from Iraq and the Oil for Food scandal, but here he is relying on Kofi Annan's UN again!

But wait, there's more.

By boxing the US into the UN framework, Bush has created the always dangerous situation of making people believe real progress is being made when the end result is simply a never ending treadmill of diplomatic dancing. So the US will find it difficult to justify action against Iran outside the UN without paying a substantial political cost. Remember the second guessers who kept talking about Bush giving the sanctions `more time to work?

Far from preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons - which it has already said openly that it will use to annihilate Israel and which will make the US-led war on Islamic fascism ten times more difficult and costly to win - the IAEA's resolution has simply boxed the US into a policy that has no chance of succeeding and prevents it from pursuing other options that have a decent prospect of curtailing Iran's nukes and its ongoing support for terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere.

This was a major diplomatic defeat for the US and its allies. They had better come up with a contingency plan...and fast.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trust Russia and China .. ya right