South Africa: Drop Iran Sanctions Now
UNSC President Declares Them Not Divine, Demands 'Timeout'
By Steve Schippert | March 20, 2007
Have you heard? South Africa is “not window dressing” to the heavyweights at the UN Security Council, and their silly list of additional sanctions proposed against Iran are “not written by God.” And with that, Monday’s productive UNSC session at Turtle Bay can be officially recorded.
The Security Council is expected to vote later this week on agreed-to additional sanctions on Iran
for its intransigence regarding its nuclear program. Leading up to this has been a curious series of events and visits.
In late February, Iran's Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and lead nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani travelled to South Africa to meet with South African president Thabo Mbeki. His visit just happened to be right before his trip to London to meet with the UN Security Council Permanent Five and Germany regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
Relax, we were assured, as “South African officials downplayed any significance in the timing of Ali Larijani's visit.”
Odd coincidence to be sure. Aside from a shared history with Pakistani nuclear proliferator AQ Khan, a generally hostile disposition towards anything American, and the 'Terrorist Black Holes' of lawlessness in and around South Africa that Iran is sure to enjoy, there's not much the two nations have in common. Or is there?
South African Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad then traveled to Iran for a Council of Ministers Meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation soon after on March 7. Not much was reported to have gone on, of course, aside from economic talks and some African Union security issues.
A funny thing happened on the way to the UN Security Council vote on additional Iran sanctions. The current UN Security Council sitting president, who just coincidentally happens to be the South African UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, insisted Monday that all sanctions proposals against Iran be dropped, "including an arms embargo and financial bans on an Iranian state bank and the Revolutionary Guards."
Those pesky Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps boys. You know the ones. The ones whose Qods Force operators executed four American soldiers after abducting them in a professional raid in Karbala, Iraq, killing a fifth American soldier in the process? Yes, those Revolutionary Guards.
Curious how that just fell off the radar screen, isn’t it? Right along with the other intelligence on Iranians killing Americans (among others) in Iraq. Perhaps we should just go about our business. Do some shopping. Can’t go letting a state engaged in killing American citizens through terrorist attacks for a quarter of a century go mucking up the status quo, now. Talk about “An Inconvenient Truth.”
But no matter. Why worry about dead Americans and state-sponsored terrorism when there’s a nuclear program to consume our debates, talks, negotiations and other unproductive endeavors?
To be sure, South Africa has arrived, as its UN Ambassador and this month’s sitting UN Security Council president declared that his nation is “not window dressing” to the big powers. After all, the existing additional sanctions proposal agreed to by the United States, Russia, Great Britain, China, France and Germany “was not written by God,” he said. If it were, Ahmadinejad would have informed us by now.
South Africa is now an advocate of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and their ‘peaceful’ nuclear program. So much so that not only did the South African UN Ambassador call for the scuttling of all sanctions against Iran, he also called for a 90-day “timeout” so that we can engage in “political negotiations to find a long-term solution.”
Forget that negotiations have been ongoing since 2003. Forget that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (and other Iranian leaders) have declared that Iran’s nuclear program is “not negotiable,” and that Iran will not budge, “not one iota.” Forget that for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and many others in the Iranian power structure, the “long term solution” will not be marked by nuclear-generated electricity, but in “ushering in the return of the Mahdi,” an apocalyptic messianic quest that requires warfare, bloodshed and misery untold in human history. But most of all, forget the state-sponsored terrorism.
Forget also that the UN, the IAEA and the UN Security Council proceedings are political. What the South African Ambassador means is that he wants a process that is political without consequence. Perhaps a visit to the history books is in order, but one is surely not likely to find where a belligerent state actor has been compelled by that track. But then, that’s likely the whole point, after all.
From the outset, the Iranian nuclear crisis has been little more than, as any good Marine would say, a Dog & Pony Show. It has been reduced to a traveling circus on the New York–Vienna–Natanz circuit. Meanwhile, the intelligence (or, in the newly imposed intelligence standard, ‘evidence’) on Iran’s terrorism and sponsored acts of terrorism collects dust.
If you can’t be bothered with state-sponsored terrorism and want to consume yourself with an immediate nuclear crisis, took a good hard look at Pakistan. Please.