Is Iran headed for the World Court?
Plotting to assassinate a diplomat on foreign soil is an international crime, says the White House, and could land the Iranian government in the World Court.
President Obama, appearing at a press conference Thursday with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, said Iran's "dangerous and reckless behavior" is outside all norms of international conduct, and "there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others in the State Department are taking evidence they say supports punishing Iran to those whom Secretary Clinton calls "our friends and partners in the international community."
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has met with numerous delegation heads at the UN, and some diplomats have said on the condition of anonymity that the evidence Ambassador Rice presented is "convincing."
The administration's goal is to build international support for its bid to isolate Iran over the terror plot.
But the Obama administration also believes the planned assassination violated international law against targeting diplomats - including a treaty that lists Iran among its signatories.
By labeling the Iranian regime an international outlaw, the administration is thus drumming up support for pursuing Iran in the Security Council or the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the UN's principal court of law.
Would having the Iranian regime decalared "outlaw" matter? Not to them, that's for sure. As for the rest of the world, it is doubtful many nations would refuse to purchase Iranian oil - not in this market. As long as Iran has customers for its petroleum, they will not moderate their behavior - and that includes their continuing efforts to build the bomb.
Bringing Iran up on charges either at the UN or at The Hague is an exercise in futility. It may make a record for the history books, but as a practical matter, it will count for little in the power politics of the Middle East or elsewhere.