The IAEA, the EU, and Russia play ball

The Iran nuclear fiasco has finally reached its first culminating point, and all indications are that the case will be referred to the UN Security Council.  The AP reports today that Iran is planning to block International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities sites if the matter is referred to the UN.  France, Britain and Germany have finally given up after two years of negotiations designed to defuse the confrontation with Israel and the US, but would have allowed Iran the ability to develop a commercial nuclear power generation capability.

Virtually unnoticed by the major press is how GW's national security and foreign policy teams have forged new pro—US alliances, at times using the IAEA itself as the agent for change.  Last September, the IAEA Board of Governors issued an ultimatum that unless Tehran opened up all of its nuclear facilities to inspection, the case will be brought before the UN Security Council.  A total of 22 out of 35 board members voted for the European Union motion while 12 abstained.  Voting for the measure were Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Peru, Singapore and Ecuador, including all European members of the Board.  Notably, the new Chair of the IAEA's Board of Governors is the Ambassador and Resident Representative from the staunch US ally of Japan, Mr. Yukiya Amano.  Director General of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei really had no choice but to conform to the Board's desire to bring the matter before the UN.

Referring the matter to the UN Security Council is no guarantee of any substantive action since the measure faces veto from Russia and China.  Now it appears that  Russia has dropped its opposition to US and European efforts to refer the case to the Security Council.  It's entirely possible, as AT contributor James Lewis notes, that Russia and other players on the Security Council face possible exposure on their pre—war dealings with Saddam and other rogue states.

The vast majority of this treasure trove of documents captured by Coalition forces have not even been translated yet, much less analyzed for any intelligence value.  What we do know is that in addition to the massive Oil—for—Food scam, Russia, China, North Korea, and some members of the EU overtly and covertly supplied Iran in the past with prohibited weapons and dual—use technology.  For example, in the '90s the US Navy was routinely tracking and sometimes boarding North Korean cargo ships heading to Iranian ports.  And speaking of Saddam's documents, remember that Iraq was at war with Iran for eight years.  I wonder what dirt the Mukhabarat had on the mullahs and their trading partners?

Despite the juicy prospect of forcing our so—called allies to finally enact sanctions on Iran, it may still be an empty gesture just as it was in attempting to keep Saddam in check.  At least the world will find out where everybody stands on Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Doug Hanson  01—13—06

The Iran nuclear fiasco has finally reached its first culminating point, and all indications are that the case will be referred to the UN Security Council.  The AP reports today that Iran is planning to block International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities sites if the matter is referred to the UN.  France, Britain and Germany have finally given up after two years of negotiations designed to defuse the confrontation with Israel and the US, but would have allowed Iran the ability to develop a commercial nuclear power generation capability.

Virtually unnoticed by the major press is how GW's national security and foreign policy teams have forged new pro—US alliances, at times using the IAEA itself as the agent for change.  Last September, the IAEA Board of Governors issued an ultimatum that unless Tehran opened up all of its nuclear facilities to inspection, the case will be brought before the UN Security Council.  A total of 22 out of 35 board members voted for the European Union motion while 12 abstained.  Voting for the measure were Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Peru, Singapore and Ecuador, including all European members of the Board.  Notably, the new Chair of the IAEA's Board of Governors is the Ambassador and Resident Representative from the staunch US ally of Japan, Mr. Yukiya Amano.  Director General of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei really had no choice but to conform to the Board's desire to bring the matter before the UN.

Referring the matter to the UN Security Council is no guarantee of any substantive action since the measure faces veto from Russia and China.  Now it appears that  Russia has dropped its opposition to US and European efforts to refer the case to the Security Council.  It's entirely possible, as AT contributor James Lewis notes, that Russia and other players on the Security Council face possible exposure on their pre—war dealings with Saddam and other rogue states.

The vast majority of this treasure trove of documents captured by Coalition forces have not even been translated yet, much less analyzed for any intelligence value.  What we do know is that in addition to the massive Oil—for—Food scam, Russia, China, North Korea, and some members of the EU overtly and covertly supplied Iran in the past with prohibited weapons and dual—use technology.  For example, in the '90s the US Navy was routinely tracking and sometimes boarding North Korean cargo ships heading to Iranian ports.  And speaking of Saddam's documents, remember that Iraq was at war with Iran for eight years.  I wonder what dirt the Mukhabarat had on the mullahs and their trading partners?

Despite the juicy prospect of forcing our so—called allies to finally enact sanctions on Iran, it may still be an empty gesture just as it was in attempting to keep Saddam in check.  At least the world will find out where everybody stands on Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Doug Hanson  01—13—06