Analysis: IAEA Expected to Refer Iran to Security Council

Iran's fate is likely to follow the North Korean model: a Security Council debate followed by censure.

VIENNA - Iran's fate in the coming months is likely to follow the North Korean model: a debate in the Security Council followed by censure. Ostensibly, the decision expected in Friday's meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to transfer the matter of Iran's nuclear projects to the Security Council is couched in weak language. There is no mention of sanctions; statements about a "window of opportunity still open for Iran to cooperate and avoid enriching uranium" by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei yesterday may engender a strong sense of deja vu.

In the past 28 months ElBaradei has issued seven written reports and three briefings in which he describes signs of Iran's breaking of its international obligations, lying and purchasing equipment on the black market to push ahead two simultaneous nuclear programs, one open for peaceful purposes and a secret one for weapons.

Each time, ElBaradei and the IAEA have given Iran another chance to cooperate. But even the cautious ElBaradei, as well as Russia and China, Iran's former patrons, are fed up with Tehran's evasiveness. They have joined the West, making possible an almost sweeping majority to bring the Iranian question before the Security Council.

Thus, weak language and lack of sanctions notwithstanding, the fact is that Iran is concerned about today's decision despite its threats against the international community. Israel can be satisfied with events over the past two days at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

Iran is on the verge of becoming a pariah state. There is always the chance that Iran will tell the world to go to hell, and develop its weapons. But if international pressure on Iran persists, Iran may give up its nuclear intentions, or at least they will be delayed for a few years.