Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Iran So Far Away

Blair urges U.N. to consider action on Iran

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair called on Wednesday for the U.N. Security Council to consider action against Iran after it resumed nuclear fuel research, but former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said any sanctions would be futile.

Iran removed U.N. seals at uranium enrichment research facilities on Tuesday and announced it would resume "research and development" on producing uranium fuel, prompting angry reactions from Washington, the European Union and Russia.

Blair vowed to haul Iran before the Security Council, which can impose punitive measures.

"I think the first thing to do is to secure agreement for a reference to the Security Council, (if) that is indeed what the allies jointly decide as I think seems likely," Blair told parliament.

"Then .. we have to decide what measures to take and we obviously don't rule out any measures at all," he added.
Well, that landed with a dull thud.
"Adopting harsh measures like imposing sanctions cannot bring about the desired outcome," Rafsanjani said at Tehran University in a sermon to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival..."We will stand by our right to nuclear technology. They will regret creating any problems for us," he told worshippers.
Blair is taking the lead on this issue for a couple of reasons, not least of which is the idiotic stance that Bush took when he invaded Iraq, thus losing any credibility on the weapons of mass destruction front. Putin wouldn't dare impose his will on Iran, a huge trading partner and a purchaser of arms from Russia.

A Security Council resolution imposing sanctions would likely be vetoed by China or Russia, more likely China, who stands to gain as Iran develops its reactor. Iran is basically thumbing its nose at the world and at Bush and the US in particular.

But wait! There's more!
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said last week that Iran’s nuclear program “can be destroyed.”

Halutz made the comments during a conference at Tel Aviv University, Army Radio reported.

Israeli officials and politicians have openly discussed the possibility of an attack on Iran, either alone or with other countries, aimed at crippling Iran’s nuclear development capabilities.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to Iran’s decision last week to resume nuclear fuel production research by issuing a statement saying “it is clear that this step calls for a grave and immediate international response – sending the issue to the [United Nations] Security Council.”
The...hesitation...the Foreign Ministry had in saying the issue should go to the Security Council is what we in acting call a "pregnant pause", which means of course that there's an implication, perhaps that Israel will act unilaterally if the UN, notorious for picking on Israel to behave, fails to take action on this issue.

One longs for the days of Clintonian diplomacy.