World bestirs itself to censure Iran over secret nuke facility

I'm not sure that it matters much at this point, given Iran may already have passed the point of no return, but this is a pretty significant step by the UN against Iranian nuclear bomb intentions.

The IAEA representatives - including Russia and China - have made a strong protest against Iranian stonewalling regarding its formerly secret processing facility and not coming clean about its intent to design and build a nuke.

Alan Cowell and David Sanger of the New York Times report:

The resolution was the agency's first against Iran in almost four years, and it won the backing of Russia and China in a long-sought broadening of the message of international displeasure with Iran that is frequently voiced in the West.

The White House issued a statement Friday that reflected its growing impatience with Iran. "The fact that 25 countries from all parts of the world cast their votes in favor shows the urgent need for Iran to address the growing international deficit of confidence in its intentions," the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs said.

The censure came a day after Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency's head, bluntly declared that Iran had stonewalled investigators about evidence that the country had worked on nuclear weapons design, and that his efforts to reveal the truth had "effectively reached a dead end."

Dr. ElBaradei had for years maintained a more measured approach to Iran, but he is preparing to step down next week after 12 years as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. His remarks refocused attention on Iran's suspected work on weapons design at a moment when the West is debating how to respond after Tehran backed away from a commitment it made in early October to temporarily send much of its nuclear fuel abroad.

Despite the Russian and Chinese votes, it remained unclear whether they would support any expansion of sanctions.

I've made the point before but it bears repeating. Russia, China, and the rest of the world are not stupid. Even if it is their desire to stick it to the west and the US, you have to be bloody out of your mind to acquiesce in the prospect of Iran building a nuke. Everyone knows that if that were to occur, the prospect of nuclear war would become a real possibility.

To date, the rest of the world has found it in their interest to pretend otherwise. But now that the hour is approaching when Iran will have the means and knowledge to build a bomb, it is beginning to concentrate the minds of countries like Russia and China wonderfully. China especially cannot afford a middle east war between Israel and Iran. They are more dependent than we are for supplies from the region. Hence, their cooperation in this matter, and perhaps on stricter sanctions.

It may be too late. The article points out the probability that Iran is hiding a military aspect to their program and refuses to allow IAEA inspections of some suspect sites. If true, and if you apply what we know from their public program at Natanz and other sites, they may already have built a bomb or two.

We just don't know.

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