"The Iranian nation will not accept for one moment any bullying, invasion and violation of its rights," said Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to a crowd of tens of thousands in the western city of Orumiyeh hours ahead of a deadline set by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. As a reaction to Iran's steadfast decision, George Bush, as usual, warned of "consequences" for missing the deadline of August 31, 2006.
In his meeting with the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, Mr. Ahmadinejad said, "Sanctions cannot dissuade Iranians from their decision to make progress. On the contrary, many of our successes, including access to the nuclear fuel cycle and production of heavy water, have been achieved under sanctions."
Needless to say, Mr. Bush, in the safety of the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention, can issue all sorts of fearful warnings, but from raising the voice of admonishment to the actual realization of those threats of sanctions, there is a wide gap that the president of the United States tightly between a rock and a hard place in Iraq and Afghanistan, cannot jump.
While the conservative members of the Bush administration along with the majority of the representatives in the U.S. Congress, are impatiently urging the imposition of a set of broad and damaging economic and political sanctions on Iran, Russian and Chinese members of the United Nations Security Council are not yet prepared to totally abandon the path of diplomacy and scrap the responsibilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency for monitoring the nuclear activities in Iran.
The unfortunate but logical consequence of imposing wide-ranging sanctions on Iran, would no doubt, increase Iran's propensity to abandon the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) altogether and freely continue its research and development in the field of nuclear energy without encumbrances.
One of the objectives of U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of Iran's 1979 revolution has been to isolate that country in the international arena and undermine its sovereignty and independent path to development. But by all evidence, it does not appear that the U.S. has been successful in its efforts of using the language of force and intimidation.
On Friday, September 1, 2006 a financial analyst on CNBC commenting on future prices of crude oil said the United Nations Security Council has drawn a gun on Tehran, but the people in Iran are aware that the gun has no bullets. For the time being, one major reason for the lack of potency, among a few, is the U.S. foundering in the Iraq-Afghan quagmires and the other is the commercial interests of the European countries in Iran.
Last year German companies exported 4.4 billion euros ($5.65 billion) worth of goods, including industrial machinery, automobiles, and steel and chemical products to Iran. There are about 50 German enterprises with their own branches operating inside Iran. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) warned on September 1, 2006 that "losing the Iran market could endanger over 10,000 jobs" for the German economy. Last year, Iran was the largest market for German goods in the Middle East. The Berlin-based DIHK called for a negotiated settlement of the U.S.-Iran nuclear dispute.
On the very same day, Erkki Tuomioja, the Foreign Minister of Finland, the country that holds the six-month rotating European Union (EU) presidency, said in a press conference "that for the EU, diplomacy remains the number one method forward."
The fact that there are substantial material differences between the U.S. and EU interests in Iran cannot be denied. The EU is prepared to go along with the U.S. foreign policy on soft sanctions, measures that the Islamic Republic has been familiar with since 1996. And as long as the U.S. does not try to drag the Russian and Chinese commercial relations with Iran into its regime of sanctions, those countries may also agree with soft penalties. But otherwise, they will be either forced to abstain or in the worst case use their veto power.
The deepest concern of the Russian and Chinese representatives has been that if they consented to an open-ended set of sanctions coupled with force against Iran, the U.S. maliciously may snatch the green light and go on the slippery slope, just as in the case of Iraq, towards a "coalition of the willing," and another war of aggression in the Middle East. Russia's Defense Minister, Sergei B. Ivanov, speaking on September 1, 2006 at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations said "We cannot support ultimatums that lead everyone to a dead end and cause escalation, the logic of which leads to the use of force." His view echoed the judgment of the majority of the European societies and around the world that sanctions could be a first step toward a newly-minted Washington-led war in the Middle East with the illusion of reversing its losses elsewhere.
Being aware of their concern, the United States is trying to avoid harsh rhetoric and ease any fear of a military campaign in order to persuade the Russians and Chinese to agree to certain levels of sanctions against Iran.
In the showdown, Iran decided to continue its nuclear enrichment activities, leave the doors of its nuclear facilities open to the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and invite all relevant parties to the negotiating table. There are two components to this policy: 1) resisting the language of force and defending its internationally-recognized right to civilian nuclear energy, including its uranium enrichment process and 2) comply with the rules and regulations of the IAEA within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
As in the case of Lebanon's ceasefire, France would like to strike an independent note from the U.S. lead. In that respect, French Foreign Minister Phillippe Douste-Blazy who although is unsatisfied by Iran's defiance of the UN Security Council, nonetheless, takes the initiative by saying that "I remain convinced that priority must still be given to the path of dialogue." The French position, undoubtedly, ties the hands of the neo-cons, headed by Cheney and Rumsfeld in the Bush Administration.
Knowing that it cannot ride on the moral and legal authority of a unanimous agreement of the UNSC and some of the major European countries for imposing travel restrictions on Iranian officials or a ban on the sale of dual-use technology and/or a freeze on the financial and real assets of Iran, the U.S. is said to consider stepping outside of the UN framework and rally its own co-conspirators to weaken and isolate Iran. Do we expect any better from a ruling class that behaves like a group of international gangsters?
... Payvand News - 9/11/06 ... --