U.S. Says More Time Needed on Iran TalksOperative phrase highlighted by yours truly.
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press Writer
March 21, 2006, 8:49 AM EST
UNITED NATIONS -- Britain's strategy for persuading Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions calls for sanctions that could be enforced militarily if diplomacy fails, but getting U.N. Security Council members Russia and China on board will be a struggle.
Britain, the United States, France and Germany are having trouble just getting China and Russia to agree on a Security Council statement calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Senior diplomats from the six countries met for 4 1/2 hours Monday, apparently achieving little.
The immediate disagreement, with which the Security Council has grappled for a week, is over a proposed council statement urging Iran to abandon uranium enrichment and calling for a report in 14 days.
Moscow and Beijing want the International Atomic Energy Agency to assume the main role in cajoling Iran on uranium enrichment. They have warned that pushing Iran too hard could prompt its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the expulsion of IAEA inspectors. They also contend that 14 days is too short for a progress report on Iran's compliance.
The six senior diplomats agreed on a brief statement expressing "deep concern" that Iran was continuing enrichment and had barred surprise IAEA inspections.
Here's the nub of the problem: Russia and China don't trust George W. Bush. We've seen the failure of the Bush administration to curb its enthusiasm for bloodshed when it wants to get its way. Russia AND China both supply Iran with critical technology and equipment for its nuclear program and simply don't want to stop.
There are two ways to look at these developments:
1) The Russians and Chinese are trying to stalemate the efforts to curb Iranian nuclear programs, as evidenced by the fact that neither Russia nor China has participated in the negotiations between key European allies ("Old Europe" France and Germany, as well as England) and Iran.
2) Russia and China DO want to assist in curbing Iran's programs to the extent that they don't want Iran to develop weapons, but they don't want America (at least, a Bush America) meddling in and slicing too deeply. They cannot, however, be on the record as opposing or approving of Iran's programs.
I think the next step, especially given the gorilla we have as amabassador to the UN, John Bolton, will be to let the clock run out on negotiations and to force a Security Council Resolution, which either China or Russia could veto unilaterally (and if they are forced to vote, the veto will come from both for cover).
The members of the Security Council (aside from the five permanent members: the US< China, Russia, England, and France) are: Argentina, Greece, Qatar, Congo, Japan, Slovakia, Denmark, Peru, Tanzania, & Ghana. Assuming we haven't pissed off too many of them, basically a fairly US-friendly bunch. Any resolution would likely be approved, and force China and Russia to veto it.
I think the hiccup, as far as China and Russia go, is putting teeth into this resolution. The Americans want the threat of military force as a last resort (we saw how well that worked with Iraq, even when they complied with resolution 1441!) Russia and China will make sure this time it really is as a last resort. A wayyyyyy last resort, as in "If they drop a nuke on Israel or America, then you can send troops in."
Good luck, George. See, this is why you don't piss the world off. Sometimes, much of the time, you need them on your side.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky