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Iran Rejects UN Statement with Defiance

In Vienna, Iran has rejected the UN Security Council demands defiantly, as Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief representative to the IAEA, declared that “it is impossible to go back to suspension. This enrichment matter is not reversible.” Attempting to justify the position, Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, added that “Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and has never diverted towards prohibited activities.”

However, the UN Security council statement, approved formally today, noted with ‘serious concern’ in Paragraph 3 many outstanding issues regarding Iran’s clandestine program, ”including topics which could have a military nuclear dimension, and that the IAEA is unable to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.”

These outstanding issues and concerns include a direct IAEA reference to Iran’s ‘Green Salt Project’.

Some remain optimistic about the UN action, positive that, despite the watered down language, a 30-day clock has begun to tick for Iran enroute to real consequences. Secretary of State Rice and Ambassador Bolton believe if Iran fails to abide by the guidelines set forth by the Security Council and the IAEA, then the Security Council will revisit and take action in the form of sanctions. This outlook requires a belief that Russia and China will change their stance and eventually support the concept of sanctions against their major trading partner.

What Iran will do in 30 days’ time is an unknown, but if their recent history is a guide, predictable. Today’s defiant Iranian rejection should be viewed in context with past three years of Iranian actions and current posturing, including massive military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf area by both IRGC naval and ground forces. The week-long maneuvers are to be kicked off Friday with Iran firing a Shahab-2 missile “to show Iran’s desire for peace and friendship with neighbouring countries,” according to IRGC Naval Commander, Rear Admiral Morteza Saffari.

While the maneuvers were being announced yesterday, IRGC General Rahim Safavi warned against threats to Iran nuclear sites, and added that the Iranian response would be ”in a broad-based manner if threatened.” He added, “We are not after confrontation, are no threat to any country and follow a policy of detente but will not hesitate to defend our country if threatened by warmongers.” Iran’s neighbors would likely disagree strongly that Iran is no threat to them, including the recently threatened Qatar. Additionally, the IRGC’s own Hezbollah does not follow a policy of détente, nor do the other Iranian-funded terrorist organizations, such as Islamic Jihad and the effectively safe-housed members of al-Qaeda.

But these arms of Iranian foreign policy would certainly play a major role in what General Safavi considers a ‘broad-based’ response.