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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Iran update: prolif issue won't go to UNSC soon

Vladimir Putin, as quoted by the Washington Post today:
"We, of course, are against Iran becoming a nuclear power,"
Russia is helping Iran build a civilian nuclear plant, so one might think that Putin sees the Iranian bomb issue a bit differently than does Washington.

True enough. Russia simply isn't interested in sending the Iran case from the IAEA to the UN Security Council:
"The potential of diplomatic solutions to all these issues is far from exhausted," Putin said at a joint appearance with Bush in the East Room a day after meeting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "And we will undertake all steps necessary to settle all these problems and issues, not aggravate them. . . . We do not want our careless actions to lead to the development of events along the North Korean variant."
The Post reported that the US had been thinking of seeking this move as early as Monday, but that won't happen now. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for additional diplomacy today (from the BBC):
Condoleezza Rice told the General Assembly at the beginning of its session on Saturday that the UN Security Council must deal effectively with Iran.

"Iran should return to negotiations with the EU3 [the UK, France and Germany] and abandon forever its plans for a nuclear weapons capability," she said.

"When diplomacy has been exhausted, the Security Council must become involved."
Note that China, another permanent veto-wielding member of the UNSC, apparently isn't interested in sending the matter to the Security Council any time soon either. The Post says that President Hu Jintao apparently declined to support such a move during a meeting with Bush in NY earlier this week.

China, of course, has previously blocked Security Council action against North Korea. Earlier this week, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf confirmed that the A.Q. Khan blackmarket proliferation network had sent lots of illicit nuclear technology to North Korea. Musharraf said that he didn't know if the "father" of the Pakistani bomb had given the design for a weapon to Iran, as he had to Libya and North Korea.

It doesn't sound good.

Meanwhile, Iran's leadership is aggressive on the issue of its nuclear program. The BBC:
Iran has an "inalienable right" to produce nuclear energy, the country's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has told the United Nations.
Let's hope the US intelligence is right this time -- and that Iran still needs a decade to get the bomb.

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