Russia Opposes Consequences for Iran
As the IAEA made it official and formally referred Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council, Russia restated its opposition to any consequences for Iran in its deceptive and defiant nuclear sprint.
First, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed that Russia opposed any form of sanctions against Iran, saying, “I don’t think sanctions as a means to solve a crisis have ever achieved a goal in the recent history, so … we must rely on the professional advice of the IAEA, the watchdog of the nonproliferation regime.”
Second, FM Lavrov reminded all that Russia also opposes any military solution to the Iranian crisis by adding that Russia was “convinced that there is no military solution to this crisis.” Lavrov made both points after emerging from a closed-door session with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who shares those views and publicly rebuked Vice President Dick Cheney for warning Iran that “meaningful consequences” will result if their current nuclear pursuit is continued.
Between Kofi Annan and veto-wielding Russia, it is apparent that any such “meaningful consequences” will not come at the hand of the United Nations Security Council. Add the IAEA’s own perpetually hesitant director, Mohamed ElBaredei, and the combined parts net a finished product of inaction.
Aside from sanctions or military force, what is left as consequence, be it from the Security Council or any other source, including the new developing ‘Coalition of the Willing II’ being grafted by Washington for just that purpose. The answer is simple. There are no consequences left.
Russia, Annan and ElBaredei each prefer to allow the IAEA process - a negotiation charade of factual and operational hide & seek - to continue, seemingly in perpetuity.
But the IAEA lacks the teeth of enforcement. The Iranians, as well as all other parties, know this. This is precisely the role of the UN Security Council. Yet, in reality even the Security Council itself lacks teeth beyond rhetorical agreement (or disagreement) among the individual members. It is the individual members who each represent a single tooth through individually instituted policies and militaries. And if the Security Council lacks agreement among the individual members, as it clearly does, it achieves nothing and leaves an issue divided.
There is much room for debate as to the direction and actions to be taken regarding Iran’s belligerence on the nuclear issue. There is much room for criticism on the West’s actions in response. But there is no room for debate that the destined path of the United Nations — through its subsets of the IAEA and the Security Council — is once again a path of indecision, inaction and ineffectiveness.