Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iran passes UN Security Council deadline..and refuses to halt enrichment

Iran shrugged off any threat of increased UN sanctions today as last minute negotiations reached a dead end.

Ari Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator,(AKA Mr.`How I fooled the West') emerged from talks with Inspector Clouseau Mohamed El Baradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)and essentially told El Baradi exactly what he could do...and the horse he rode in on.

"Anyone interested in irrational moves would definitely receive an appropriate response," Mr Larijani said. "This can be solved at the chess board or in the boxing ring. We believe if they want to get into the boxing ring, they will have problems on their side too."

El Baradi's report on Iran's non-compliance is scheduled to be delivered tommorrow and will probably trigger a new UN security council debate over increased sanctions.

The US, Britain and some other EU members will likely be in favor of increasing the sanctions on Iran. Russia and China will likely do their best to prolong the debate and block any meaningful action, as they did last time.

If the Security Council is split or deadlocked, the US and EU may seek to form a coalition outside the UN to apply sanctions. They will probably be as effective as the ones adopted before were..which is to say, of limited usefulness.

The big divide, at least among the west, is what to do about it. There are still, believe it or not, some diplomats who are saying that sanctions will only harden Iran's attitude and that the mullahs should be allowed to conduct small scale uranium production.

The IAEA report as much as says that Iran faces no major technical hurdles (as long as they make their payments to Russia,nyet?) and will be able to construct 3,000 centrifuges in Natanz by the summer. That would give Iran enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb. And of course, that's just at Natanz...not to mention The nuclear project Ahmadinejad isn't bragging about

The attitude that Iran would be willing to stop with just a small, peaceful nuclear program is denial in a major sense.

Iran has lied for over a decade to the IAEA and pretty much everyone else about their nuclear program,and it will be astonishing - not to mention suicidal - if the West allows the mullahs to develop nuclear weapons technology and does nothing about it.

The whole idea of allowing a limited nuclear program is based on the optimism that the fascist regime in Iran would be content with that, and could be trusted not to develop nuclear weapons on the sly.

Hopefully, our leaders aren't that stupid.

What happens next?

Lotsa talk. El Baradi's report on Iran will be discussed first by the members of a working group on Iran made up of Britain, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China, after which they will try to decide what to do about it.

Depending on how the talks go, the US and its allies will try to come up with a sanctions package and language that might win support and be adopted by Russia, China, and the Muslim nations on the Security Council.

At any point, a deal with Iran might be cobbled together. Or, the US might decide to use our forces now in the Gulf for what the old Mob guys used to refer to as 'an out of court settlement.'

We will have to do it eventually anyway...the sooner the better.

Carthago delenda est.

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