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January 19, 2006
EU Starts Pressing For IAEA Referral On Iran

European diplomats, apparently agreeing with Condoleezza Rice's diagnosis on the usefulness of further talks with Iran on nuclear disarmament, have started circulating a draft resolution demanding that the IAEA refer Teheran to the United Nations Security Council for further action:

EU powers began circulating a draft resolution on Wednesday for a February 2 meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog asking it to report Iran to the Security Council, but Russia was seeking moves that stopped short of a formal referral. ...

The governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency will hold an emergency meeting that day on Iran's nuclear work at the request of European Union powers, an IAEA spokesman said.

France, Britain, Germany and the United States are expected to push to have Tehran referred to the U.N. Security Council after it resumed research that could be used for generating electricity or making atomic bombs.

But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said European states were considering a Russian proposal that could delay a formal referral of Iran to the council.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Washington, Solana said Russia had suggested the IAEA emergency meeting should call for a special U.N. Security Council session to debate Iran's case, but that there be no formal referral to the council at that time.

Russia wants to have the UNSC debate possible resolutions and then refer the matter back to the IAEA, which the Iranians have managed to successfully stall for years. Despite its offer to handle all of Iran's uranium enrichment, which both sides regarded as a viable solution, Iran continues its enrichment while the debate continues. Both France and the US reject further talks with Teheran while the Iranians continue with that process; the French flatly turned down an Iranian request for negotiation earlier this week.

The Iranians, meanwhile, have busied themselves by talking with Third World members of the IAEA governing board to block the EU/US action, if taken. Teheran wants to control the IAEA through greasing palms in places like India and Syria, where the new oil minister and Ahmadinejad himself are expected to cut deals for votes during visits this week. Russia, meanwhile, continues to enable the Iranians by trying to assist the stall tactics. Commentators talk about how a nuclear Iran on their border doesn't serve Russian interests, but it appears that Vladimir Putin has more interest in looking strong and influential than he does in securing his border from nuclear-armed Islamofascists. It wouldn't be the first time in a century that a short-sighted Russian strongman enabled a group of fascist lunatics to push the world to the brink of war through dithering and finally betraying those who relied on him to help contain a global threat.

It's far past the time to push the IAEA into action. We need to start thinking about skipping over that step if these delays allow the Iranians to thoroughly co-opt the nuclear agency and self-refer Iran to the UNSC.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 19, 2006 6:08 AM

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