UN Amb. Rice unaware that Security Council approved Brazil-Turkey Iran deal

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was on Fox News Sunday to defend the Obama administration against the charge that the sanctions resolution against Iran passed on June 9 is tougher than reports have alleged. Her discussion did not get into very many specifics. She did, however, address the negative votes on the resolution cast by Brazil and Turkey and the bargain the two countries had made with Iran over the transfer of some of Tehran's uranium enrichment activities to Turkey. Amb. Rice stated,

Turkey and Brazil, whose leaders went out on a diplomatic limb and tried an eleventh hour effort to broker a deal regarding the Tehran research reactor to try to halt sanctions, found that they were the only ones on the Security Council that thought that effort was credible.

The problem with her statement is that the UN resolution contains an endorsement of the Brazil-Turkey deal. The twelfth paragraph of the resolution reads,

Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes and noting in this regard the efforts of Turkey and Brazil towards an agreement with Iran on the Tehran Research Reactor that could serve as a confidence-building measure,

The recognition of the Brazil-Turkey deal was not enough to win their votes for the resolution, but it did give them a stamp of approval by the international community rather than portray them as outcasts as Amb. Rice tried to imply. Indeed, the resolution is filled with hopes for a diplomatic settlement and the invocation of international law against any direct (military) action against Iran. There is particular emphasis on deterring the use of a naval blockade, which would be a very powerful American option.

UN resolutions are the product of negotiations with all the nations on the Security Council able to put their language into the text so as to be able to interpret resolutions in accordance with their own interests. The resolution provides Iran's friends, China and Russia as well as Brazil and Turkey, with plenty of wiggle room to continue their material support for Tehran. The Iranian regime is not isolated, nor will it be materially hindered in the achievement of its nuclear ambitions by the UN.

There are paragraphs that the United States could interpret in its favor if President Barack Obama wanted to move ahead to form a "coalition of the willing" to act against Iran. The resolution "Decides that Iran shall without delay comply fully and without qualification with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement" and

Reaffirms that, in accordance with Iran's obligations under previous resolutions to suspend all reprocessing, heavy water-related and enrichment-related activities, Iran shall not begin construction on any new uranium-enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water-related facility and shall discontinue any ongoing construction of any uranium-enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water-related facility.

Any enforcement of these and other sections condemning Iranian efforts will have to be undertaken by the action of concerned nation states. Tehran has announced it plans to build new enrichment plants, and a piece of paper alone will not halt their construction.

The resolution was passed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter dealing with "Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression" and which discusses proper responses that include the use of force. The resolution can be used as an excuse by those who do not wish to act, but a bold administration could also use its language against Iran as justification for taking decisive action if it wanted to do so. The resolution itself means little. What follows now is what will matter.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was on Fox News Sunday to defend the Obama administration against the charge that the sanctions resolution against Iran passed on June 9 is tougher than reports have alleged. Her discussion did not get into very many specifics. She did, however, address the negative votes on the resolution cast by Brazil and Turkey and the bargain the two countries had made with Iran over the transfer of some of Tehran's uranium enrichment activities to Turkey. Amb. Rice stated,

Turkey and Brazil, whose leaders went out on a diplomatic limb and tried an eleventh hour effort to broker a deal regarding the Tehran research reactor to try to halt sanctions, found that they were the only ones on the Security Council that thought that effort was credible.

The problem with her statement is that the UN resolution contains an endorsement of the Brazil-Turkey deal. The twelfth paragraph of the resolution reads,

Emphasizing the importance of political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes and noting in this regard the efforts of Turkey and Brazil towards an agreement with Iran on the Tehran Research Reactor that could serve as a confidence-building measure,

The recognition of the Brazil-Turkey deal was not enough to win their votes for the resolution, but it did give them a stamp of approval by the international community rather than portray them as outcasts as Amb. Rice tried to imply. Indeed, the resolution is filled with hopes for a diplomatic settlement and the invocation of international law against any direct (military) action against Iran. There is particular emphasis on deterring the use of a naval blockade, which would be a very powerful American option.

UN resolutions are the product of negotiations with all the nations on the Security Council able to put their language into the text so as to be able to interpret resolutions in accordance with their own interests. The resolution provides Iran's friends, China and Russia as well as Brazil and Turkey, with plenty of wiggle room to continue their material support for Tehran. The Iranian regime is not isolated, nor will it be materially hindered in the achievement of its nuclear ambitions by the UN.

There are paragraphs that the United States could interpret in its favor if President Barack Obama wanted to move ahead to form a "coalition of the willing" to act against Iran. The resolution "Decides that Iran shall without delay comply fully and without qualification with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement" and

Reaffirms that, in accordance with Iran's obligations under previous resolutions to suspend all reprocessing, heavy water-related and enrichment-related activities, Iran shall not begin construction on any new uranium-enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water-related facility and shall discontinue any ongoing construction of any uranium-enrichment, reprocessing, or heavy water-related facility.

Any enforcement of these and other sections condemning Iranian efforts will have to be undertaken by the action of concerned nation states. Tehran has announced it plans to build new enrichment plants, and a piece of paper alone will not halt their construction.

The resolution was passed under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter dealing with "Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression" and which discusses proper responses that include the use of force. The resolution can be used as an excuse by those who do not wish to act, but a bold administration could also use its language against Iran as justification for taking decisive action if it wanted to do so. The resolution itself means little. What follows now is what will matter.

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