The Trouble With Iran

UN Ambassadors from the US, Britain and France (yes, France) are expected to introduce a binding resolution this week to compel Iran to abandon it’s nuclear program. Negotiating the resolution could take months and it’s likely that none of it will matter anyway. Russia and China have already told Iran that they will not seek sanctions or endorse any military action against Tehran. In other words, the diplomatic dance through the UN is already proving to be a colossal waste of time.

When asked how far Russia and China, veto-wielding permanent members of the council, would support Washington, Manouchehr Mottaki told the Kayhan newspaper:

“The thing these two countries have officially told us and expressed in diplomatic negotiations is their opposition to sanctions and military attacks.”

“At the current juncture, I personally believe no sanctions or anything like that will be on the agenda of the Security Council,” he said in the interview.

Western diplomats say China and Russia will probably back a U.N. resolution demanding a halt to Iran’s fuel work, but are not yet ready to back moves toward sanctions.

Iran has said repeatedly that they don’t care what the UN says or does. Ahmadinejad is as defiant as ever; his words becoming more and more reckless.

Iran will target Israel first if the United States does anything “evil”, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday.

The United States says it wants Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West solved diplomatically but has refused to rule out military action.

“We have announced that wherever America does something evil, the first place that we target will be Israel,” Revolutionary Guards Rear Admiral Mohammad-Ebrahim Dehqani was quoted as saying by Iran’s student news agency ISNA.

The Islamic Republic has never recognized Israel and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the Jewish state to be “wiped off the map.”

Dehqani said naval wargames held in the Gulf last month “carried the warning to those countries that threaten Iran, including America and the Zionist regime”.

Experts said the wargames, in which Iran said it had tested new missiles and torpedoes, were a thinly veiled threat that it could disrupt vital Gulf oil shipping lanes if it was attacked.

That sounds like a national security threat against the United States if you ask me. The fact is though, we face an uphill struggle this time. Leaders in congress won’t be quick to support military action against Iran unless it’s clear that Israel is in danger. But, how do you define danger?

We should sidestep the UN as soon as possible. Economic sanctions imposed by a coalition of the willing would be the best first step, if that coalition can be identified. Let’s face it, Britain doesn’t want to face another “Iraq” situation, and they’ll be hesitant to move quickly against Tehran. Germany looks friendlier now than a few years ago, but it’s hard to know if Merkel has the will to oppose public opinion. And then there’s France. Chirac’s backroom deals with Iraq and Iran make him completely unreliable. It’s best to leave France off the table regarding their participation in any coalition. So, that leaves…

I’m doubtful that anything will be done before Bush leaves office, and that’s troubling. Even if a Republican is elected to the presidency in 2008, there’s no guarantee that the war time doctrine of this administration will be adopted and continued as policy. And by then, it might be too late.


  1. Merkel visited Washington. Merkel and Bush have demonstrated a remarkable level of unity with Merkel saying: “under no circumstances must Iran be allowed to come into possession of a nuclear weapon.” However, she also urged the U.S. not to rush. Merkel’s visit to the US is covered in the Atlantic Review, a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni.

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