Iran UN Sanctions Delayed Two Months (Updated)

Russia and China have agreed to extend sanctions against Iran but managed to wangle a concession from western powers who want to move more quickly; the sanctions will be delayed two months:

The agreement came after what diplomats described as a lively and detailed discussion among foreign ministers from the five permanent council members, including the United States, Britain and France, as well as Germany.

"The alchemy of this group is such that anything ... is going to be a compromise," said R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Washington, London and Paris have been advocating tighter sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment following two previous council resolutions, but Moscow and Beijing have been resisting. Yesterday, the ministers agreed to give Tehran at least until late November to accept last year's offer that would reward a suspension with assistance to build a civilian nuclear program.

Iran insists that its current effort is entirely peaceful, but the West fears an undercover weapons program.
A variety of sanctions have been proposed but the Security Council is far from agreeing on which package will eventually be agreed upon. The fact that Russia and China are willing to entertain the idea of additional sanctions is a victory of sorts for the western powers in that as recently as last month, the Russians were saying that no more sanctions were needed.

Whether they will do any good remains to be seen.

UPDATE

Ed Lasky comments:

 
One might judge these efforts at the United Nations to toughen sanction on Iran as verging on the futile when once considers the absurd statement from  German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier regarding the prospect of the US and Europe moving ahead on their own with tougher sanctions:

Germany opposes such a move, saying it's critical to keep China and Russia on board. "I believe what impresses Iran the most is the unity of the six. Iran's strategy is to split the six, but it hasn't succeeded so far," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The split has already happened as Russia and China have long been running interference for Iran for commercial reasons, geopolitics (to frustrate America), and a desire to impede international organizations from looking askance at those nations' own policies.

The schism has already happened: the split with Russia and China is already visible-except maybe to the German Foreign Minister-who apparently has his head stuck in the sand.

And Doug Hansen adds:

Ed Lasky's
update is correct in that the split with Russia and China has already happened.  But Germany is not naively sticking it's head in the sand concerning this obvious alignment against the West.  Any analysis of the Iran nuclear program must include long running financial arrangements along with the geo-political power plays. 

The defacto 
Iran-Russia nuclear pact is of mutual economic benefit for the mullahs and Putin, especially since the project to refurbish the reactor at Bushehr means sales of expensive technology and a lucrative jobs program for Russian and Iranian scientists.  Rarely mentioned though, is that Bushehr was first constructed by West Germany.  Don't think for a minute that a massive and technologically challenging project such as this would not benefit from the particpation of the engineers and the blueprint holders of the original project.  Therefore, count on German Foreign Minister Steinmeier to continue opposiing any meaningful sanctions.

Russia and China have agreed to extend sanctions against Iran but managed to wangle a concession from western powers who want to move more quickly; the sanctions will be delayed two months:

The agreement came after what diplomats described as a lively and detailed discussion among foreign ministers from the five permanent council members, including the United States, Britain and France, as well as Germany.

"The alchemy of this group is such that anything ... is going to be a compromise," said R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs.

Washington, London and Paris have been advocating tighter sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment following two previous council resolutions, but Moscow and Beijing have been resisting. Yesterday, the ministers agreed to give Tehran at least until late November to accept last year's offer that would reward a suspension with assistance to build a civilian nuclear program.

Iran insists that its current effort is entirely peaceful, but the West fears an undercover weapons program.
A variety of sanctions have been proposed but the Security Council is far from agreeing on which package will eventually be agreed upon. The fact that Russia and China are willing to entertain the idea of additional sanctions is a victory of sorts for the western powers in that as recently as last month, the Russians were saying that no more sanctions were needed.

Whether they will do any good remains to be seen.

UPDATE

Ed Lasky comments:

 
One might judge these efforts at the United Nations to toughen sanction on Iran as verging on the futile when once considers the absurd statement from  German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier regarding the prospect of the US and Europe moving ahead on their own with tougher sanctions:

Germany opposes such a move, saying it's critical to keep China and Russia on board. "I believe what impresses Iran the most is the unity of the six. Iran's strategy is to split the six, but it hasn't succeeded so far," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The split has already happened as Russia and China have long been running interference for Iran for commercial reasons, geopolitics (to frustrate America), and a desire to impede international organizations from looking askance at those nations' own policies.

The schism has already happened: the split with Russia and China is already visible-except maybe to the German Foreign Minister-who apparently has his head stuck in the sand.

And Doug Hansen adds:

Ed Lasky's
update is correct in that the split with Russia and China has already happened.  But Germany is not naively sticking it's head in the sand concerning this obvious alignment against the West.  Any analysis of the Iran nuclear program must include long running financial arrangements along with the geo-political power plays. 

The defacto 
Iran-Russia nuclear pact is of mutual economic benefit for the mullahs and Putin, especially since the project to refurbish the reactor at Bushehr means sales of expensive technology and a lucrative jobs program for Russian and Iranian scientists.  Rarely mentioned though, is that Bushehr was first constructed by West Germany.  Don't think for a minute that a massive and technologically challenging project such as this would not benefit from the particpation of the engineers and the blueprint holders of the original project.  Therefore, count on German Foreign Minister Steinmeier to continue opposiing any meaningful sanctions.