Thursday, August 31, 2006

Iran Remains Defiant as US Draws up Sanctions

WASHINGTON - The long-running saga of Iran's nuclear program was due to reach another key marker on Thursday, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expected to tell the United Nations Security Council that Tehran had failed to halt uranium enrichment or to cooperate with international inspectors, paving the way for the possible imposition of sanctions.

The Security Council had demanded that Iran stop its uranium enrichment by Thursday, but as late as Thursday morning Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, speaking on television, reiterated his country's right to master the nuclear fuel cycle and said his country "would not be bullied".

The United States, in addition to accusing Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says Iran supplies Lebanon's Hezbollah with mid- and long-range missiles and equips and trains Shi'ite militias in Iraq that are hostile to the US occupation there.

US and European officials, according to reports, are already planning on how to deal with the sanctions issue. Of the permanent five members of the Security Council - the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia - the last two are known to be reluctant, at least initially, to approve stringent measures.

The US has announced that it will draft a resolution for the Security Council calling for sanctions immediately after the deadline expires. Washington is composing a response to the response by Iran on August 22 to the incentive package offered by the US and Europe in exchange for stopping nuclear-enrichment activities.

Nicholas Burns, US under secretary of state for political affairs, is to travel to Berlin next week to discuss a sanctions package with the Permanent Five and Germany, which is also involved in Tehran's case. The indications are that the package will begin with symbolic measures, such as a travel ban and asset freeze on Iranian officials. Subsequently, measures could be increased to include tougher bans on Iran's access to international credit and other financial assistance.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has shrugged off the possibility of sanctions, telling state-run television that Iran "will find a way to avoid pressure eventually".

Unfortunately Iran is correct. Russia and China won't support UN resolutions and even if they did...they would not be enforced. The United Nation's record in enforcing its own resolutions is well known to Iran. Saddam Hussein used the "oil for food" resolution as a way of getting around sanctions with the help of corrupt UN officials. The United States has let the European Union lead the way in negotiating with Iran and the results are there for the world to see. Now with Iran on the brink of having nuclear weapons, the options are limited.


At 10:43 AM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

Another good post my friend.

What are your thoughts on
Fouad Ajami?

At 3:27 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

Great isn't it.
I suppose this is why the US wishes to seal this act with:
Despite intense disagreement over suspected nuclear weapons and terrorism, the Bush administration decided Tuesday to allow former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to visit the United States

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Huh. Freecyprus spammed me, too.

Iran knows damn well there aren't going to be any sanctions. Just more posturing.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Bush doesn't have any good options with Iran felis. Iran has completely outmaneuvered the United States. Sometimes it seems our foreign policy is dictated by events that are completely out of our hands...instead of our foreign policy dictating events.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

There are options of course but I don't think that the current administration is going to do much at all, just a bit of huffing and puffing.
If the Dems win the next election the crisis is going only to get worse.
Am I wrong??

At 6:08 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

I wish I could say you were. But unfortunately, the Democratic candidates for 2008 plan on running by criticizing Bush and not by putting forth alternatives. I fear that if they control the House and Senate and maybe the Presidency, the Democrats will pursue a policy of cut and run combined with pandering to Islamic terrorists.


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