Iran's Crude for Feud Program
The Washington Post reports that Europe and the US are still short the number of votes required to refer Iran formally to the UN Security Council, as the on-again, off-again reports of Russian ‘support’ wave freely in the wind. As The Post puts it in the article, “Russia is concerned that a referral of Iran to the Security Council would result in international sanctions against one of its major trading partners.” It should be remembered that one of the staples of that trade is the lucrative design and construction of some of the very Iranian nuclear facilities in question. This conflict of interest impedes any and all progress with respect to Russian support for the US and EU efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear apetite.
Iran, now apparently revisiting the once-rebuffed ‘Russian Solution’, has raised the UN Security Council ante in talks regarding the Russian plan. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaidi, wrote a letter to EU leaders stating that Iran, yet once again, was interested in resuming talks. There were no details provided in his letter as to what the talks would entail precisely, save for one item: The demand that the Chinese be involved directly in the talks and, presumably, in any plan for an extra-Iranian uranium enrichment structure. What this does is bring Iran’s two key UN Security Council supporters closer to the vest. Any deal involving the energy-hungry Chinese would revolve around a very China-friendly exchange of enrichment for a disproportionate amount of crude oil and would effectively solidify a Chinese veto at the Security Council. For Iran, their Russian problem would be solved by marginalizing them.
Inside the UN itself, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaredei solidified his critics’ claims that he is resistant to US and European efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear weapons program and bring Iran to the UN Security Council when he refused to write a detailed report on Iran’s nuclear program in time for the special meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors February 2. ElBaredei claimed that there was ‘not enough time’ to complete a full detailed report, but offered instead an update brief to be read at the meeting. This is nonsense, as the full report is surely largely already complete, with updating occuring on a regular basis. What’s really going on is ElBaredei never wanted a special meeting of the Board of Governors next week to begin with and is refusing to offer full cooperative support to the Board. This, inexplicably, from the man who heads the agency which watched powerlessly as the Iranians defiantly removed the IAEA seals from one of their principle enrichment facilities just weeks ago.
Iran’s threats of full-scale enrichment Monday may make for sensational headlines, but it’s simply more of the same via a repeated threat to resume enrichment if they are referred to the UN Security Council. Iran will eventually resume enrichment regardless of any action taken or not taken by the Security Council, that much can be assured. It is, after all, their ‘right’ to possess nuclear technology. Those who believe this right does not extend to nuclear weapons are daydreaming at the expense of a nightmare. That is simply not an arguable point, as Iran has stated numerous times that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is an unfair regional power balance, all the while, Iran’s stated Foreign Policy objective is the destruction of the State of Israel.
Through the bartering of UN Security Council votes and IAEA obstinance (aforementioned unenforcable ineffectiveness notwithstanding), the United Nations is once again proving itself little more than an obstacle of delay rather than the halls of negotiating peaceful settlements. All attempts to refer Iran to the Sucurity Council simply for discussion have failed. (There is no guarantee of sanctions or even ‘strongly worded statements’ from a referal to the UNSC.) The head of the IAEA resists calls for a special meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors to discuss the most pressing current international crisis and, further, refuses to provide the special meeting with a detailed report that is readily available. This crisis will be resolved in spite of the UN and its agencies, not through them.