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March 3, 2006
Just How Long Is This Eleventh Hour Anyway?

The BBC reports the failure of "eleventh-hour" negotiations between Iran and the EU to stop nuclear-weapons development in the Islamic Republic, a tiresome description made possible by the inertia in the international community that has delayed any meaningful action against the mullahcracy:

Last-minute talks between Iran and EU nations over Tehran's nuclear programme have broken up without agreement.

The discussions were called by Iran in a last-ditch bid to avoid possible UN action over its nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, will decide on Monday if action is needed. ...

At Friday's talks, officials from the UK, France and Germany - the so-called EU3 - said they were there to listen to Iran, but they presented no new plans of their own.

A letter from the EU3 to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, warned Iran earlier this week that any progress would be dependent on Iran stepping up co-operation with UN inspectors.

After the meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said talks "were carried out in a constructive atmosphere but finally we were unable to reach agreement."

The EU and Russia have entered frantic negotiations to stop Iranian development of nuclear material since the IAEA voted to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, but have shown no results. Iran has issued conflicting statements about the Russian proposal to enrich the uranium they supposedly need for energy generation; they swing between expressing an interest in the compromise and dismissing it altogether. The end result is more delays and more obfuscation on the part of the Iranians.

Time is running out. The UNSC should take this matter in hand as soon as possible and impose some kind of sanctions on Iran, a plan that will hurt the mullahcracy more than just a revenue pinch. The UNSC should vote to fund democratic reform in Iran, the one strategy that would really result in disarmament in Teheran. Show support for reformers, fund their organizations, use UN resources to bolster their lines of communication, and make clear to the Supreme Governing Council that their pursuit of nuclear weapons will end with them lined up against the wall in the coming revolution.

Of course, with Russia and China wielding veto power, it will never happen; any such action will wind up a dead letter in Turtle Bay. When that happens, the US and as many partners as it can find should take that action themselves. Not only will it accelerate the liberation of Iran from its theocratic fringe, but it will once again show that the UN is nothing more than an incompetent, impotent haven for despots and kleptocrats rather than an organization that represents the people of the world.

And then we can start talking abour the UN's eleventh hour and pray that it doesn't become as interminable as Iran's nuclear showdown.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 3, 2006 7:24 AM

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