Sunday, March 12, 2006

 

The Briar Patch that is the UN Security Council

The news coming out of Iran continues to be negative as Iran seemingly wants to call the world’s bluff Iran Rejects Russian Uranium Proposal.

“A prominent Russian lawmaker said Iran is hurting its case before the Security Council, which is due to receive a report from IAEA director Mohammad ElBaradei”

Ah yes, the United Nation’s Security Council. The United States has been trying to get Iran before the Security Council since 2003. Instead we got:

An October 2003 agreement between Iran and Germany, France and the UK at which time:

“[t]he Iranian authorities reaffirmed that nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defence doctrine and that its nuclear programme and activities have been exclusively in the peaceful domain” News Center : In Focus : IAEA and Iran

That worked so well that in November 2004, those same parties decided to agree to Iranian suspension of certain nuclear activities November 2004 agreement between Iran and Germany, France and the UK

Because of the long history of success with diplomatic solutions with terrorists, everyone was surprised then when they read that the fourth round of Iran-EU talks concluded in Geneva without tangible progress.

“Meanwhile, a few hours after the end of the fourth round of Iran-EU nuclear talks in Geneva, the three EU states leading tense nuclear talks with Iran said Friday progress has been slower than hoped, and while voicing hope they can succeed warned Tehran risks being referred to the UN if they fail” (emphasis added)

That was a year ago, March 2005.

But hope springs eternal so it was understandable that Europeans would criticize U.S. sanctions as potential risk to Iran talks (IHT) this past December.

Finally, the IAEA voted to report Iran to the UN Security council on February 4th of this year but, at Russia’s insistence, allowed Iran some time to continue to work out a solution Iran Defiant Despite UN Referral - Council on Foreign Relations:

“Under the resolution approved by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran must meet a series of demands, including the cessation of all uranium enrichment work and full disclosure of its past efforts to obtain nuclear technology. Otherwise, it will face censure and possible sanctions by the Security Council” Iran defiant in face of U.N. nuclear demands

In response:

“Iran said Monday that it would restart uranium enrichment work despite international objections. At the same time, Tehran indicated that negotiations were still possible and that Russian options were being considered.” Iran Issues Enrichment Threat But Considers Russian Proposal Europe Deutsche Welle 06.02.2006

And so here we are. To let you know just how serious a matter being reported to the Security Council is, consider this:

“Responding to North Korea’s rejection of two previous IAEA resolutions, the agency’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution February 12 declaring Pyongyang in “further non-compliance” with its obligations under the NPT. The board decided to report the matter to the UN Security Council, in accordance with agency mandates.” North Korea Restarts Reactor; IAEA Sends Resolution to UN


That was February, 2003.

The problem with going to the UN is that it puts the UN in the awkward position of actually having to do something…which can only exacerbate a growing recognition that the UN is poorly structured to do much of substance. But I suppose political reality requires the US to continue to work this channel (and thank God we have someone like John Bolton working it).

Final note: None of our options are particularly attractive here but I like the tone that I’m hearing out of the administration U.S., Russia Cooperate on Iran Amid Rifts:

“Though Lavrov said it was too early to discuss U.N. sanctions against Iran, Vice President Cheney had already issued a blunt threat that Iran will face "meaningful consequences" if it fails to cooperate with international efforts to curb its nuclear program. Cheney told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday that the United States "is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime" and is sending "a clear message: We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."




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